The legacy of a unique collection
L'Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts preserves through its
archives and collections one of the most important artistic legacies of France.
Housed in the school's superb library are paintings, sketches and
architectural drawings by former students of the school. Rarely have so many
documents survived both the passage of time and the Revolution. Of outstanding
historical value is the collection of works from the
Prix de Rome Contests in Painting, which echoes the colourful and
often tumultuous past of the school.
Little known by the public at large, this suite of over 200 paintings
represents the winners of the Premier Grand Prix de
Rome. What separates this from most other museum collections is the fact
that these works form a comprehensive series, and were painted by students
still in the process of becoming artists. Also unusual is the fact that
the paintings represent a long span of consecutive years, and all have the same
dimensions, subject matter, and place of creation.