It was founded under the name of Real Academia de San Carlos de las Nobles Artes de la Nueva España in 1781 by the King of Spain, Carlos III. It was the first academy in the Americas and housed the first art museum in Latin America in its facilities. It was founded with the intention of establishing a school of engraving to improve production and minting of coin. The subjects were divided into architecture, painting and sculpture. The complex was remodeled in the mid nineteenth century. It currently belongs to the National Autonomous University of Mexico and is part of the Faculty of Arts and Design. It usually hosts cutting edge art exhibitions.