Exhibition | 350 Years of Creativity
Now on view at the French Academy in Rome:
350 Years of Creativity: The Artists of the French Academy in Rome from Louis XIV to the Present
350 ans de création: Les artistes de l’Académie de France à Rome de Louis XIV à nos jours
Académie de France à Rome – Villa Medici, 14 October 2016 — 15 January 2017
Curated by Jérôme Delaplanche
Founded by Louis XIV in 1666, the Academy is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year with a special series of events retracing its history. This exhibition is one of the program’s high points and is accompanied by two others in Rome, organized by the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and focusing on their relationships with the French Academy. 350 Years of Creativity is a chance for the visitor to discover the creative output of artists at the Academy—both residents and directors—during their stays in Rome. It includes over a hundred works dating from 1666 to the present day, by artists including Fragonard, David, Ingres, Berlioz, Garnier, Carpeaux, Debussy, and Balthus. In the course of a fascinating journey through three and half centuries of French art, visitors are offered a closer look at the Academy and its successive generations of creators.
350 Years of Creativity illustrates the high points of the Academy’s long life with works by its leading artists presented under the following headings: the ancient and modern quest for the ideal; the discovery of picturesque reality; the relationship with the body and the nude; the significance of the move to the Villa Médicis; eclecticism and the value of originality; new life for tradition; and the Academy as a center for creative experiment. The exhibition itinerary brings together paintings, drawings, statues, prints, musical scores, and archival material as testimony to the sheer artistic variety the institution has produced. Some of these works come from the Academy’s own collection, notably portraits by residents and the plaster statues. The exhibition closes with a video of works created by residents over the last few decades. For the visitor all this adds up to an opportunity to survey the history of French art from 1666 to 2016.
350 Years of Creativity will also be accompanied by other events—screenings, encounters, concerts—presented at the Villa Médicis as part of the series ‘Thursdays at the Villa: Art Matters’. It will conclude with a symposium on 11–13 January 2017 with the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, titled Art Academies: Heritage and Contemporary Art Issues.
Jerome Delaplanche, ed., 350 anni di creatività: Gli artisti dell’Accademia di Francia a Roma da Luigi XIV ai nostri giorni (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2016), 224 pages, ISBN: 978 8899765101 (Italian), ISBN: 978 8899765088 (French), 35€.