Bringing Ancient Rome to Paris

To encourage the development of classical tastes and to give students access to original classical artworks, the Académie established in 1663 a series of rigorous annual competitions named the Prix de Rome Contests. The contest winners were awarded extended stays at the prestigious Académie de France à Rome. Situated in Rome, this affiliated school was founded by the French during the time of Louis XIV (1643-1715) for the purpose of providing classical training to young French artists and, ultimately, to furnish Louis XIV's spacious new residence at Versailles with their works. The tradition of the Prix de Rome Contests, which promoted the return to classical styles of representation, was to continue for 320 years.