During the nineteenth century Art history classes in the Venice Academy of Fine Arts are held by lecturers with very different cultural backgrounds. )is article investigates the programs and didactic supports used by teachers in a political and institutional context which was characterized by changes. Under its first lecturer, marquis Pietro Selvatico Estense (1850-59), Art History plays an active role in the implementation process of his reform of elementary design. The first chair of Art History, Antonio Dall'Acqua-Giusti (1865-93), gives up this pragmatic approach conceived for the concrete use made by contemporary artists. Dall'Acqua's teaching method aims to emphasize the link between Art History and Civil History in the context of the recently established Kingdom of Italy, when particular attention is paid to Renaissance and local traditions. His humanistic approach to Art History as part of general artistic culture will be undermined by the philosopher Angelo Conti (1895-97), whose short, but intense period of teaching accentuates the active role of viewing during field trips to Venice and its surroundings.