Address by Frédéric MITTERRAND, Minister for Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the 1st Marc de Montalembert Prize

Madam Ambassador,
Mr Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institut National d'Histoire de
the Art,
Madam Director General of the National Institute of Art History,
Director of the National Heritage Institute,
Ladies and Gentlemen Directors,
Miss the winner of the Prix Marc de Montalembert,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,
«Art history must be an active discipline in the City», it must «promote
a knowledge, a historical awareness that modifies the perspectives:
so often naive – of the present”. This programmatic injunction that André
CHASTEL kept hammering throughout his life comes back to me in memory
today, in this National Institute of Art History, of which he was the father
and who lives the day only eleven years after his death, thanks to the tenacity
distinguished art historians whom I wish to greet, Michel LACLOTTE, Pierre
ROSENBERG, Jacques THUILLIER, Alain SCHNAPP and many others.
Thanks to their combined efforts with those of the public authorities, the National Institute
History of Art is now a research, documentation and
world-class training. Strong partnerships between universities, universities and
Museums, Schools, it federates and crystallizes the search for excellence in history of
art in our country, and it promotes its international reach. In a few
years of existence, it has entered into a healthy emulation with
as prestigious as the Warburg Institute in London or the Getty Research Institute
los Angeles.
All eras, all approaches and all areas of art history
and archaeology find their place in the range of its countless curiosities
The COLBERT Gallery is now a place where the spirit breathes, a
an open mind, both interdisciplinary and intercultural, that meets the requirements and
of the Marc DE MONTALEMBERT Foundation, whose
will have the pleasure and honor to present the first prize dedicated to
«Arts of the Mediterranean region».
But – at the risk of sounding like those teachers who keep students waiting
to return their copy – I want to come back to the INHA for a moment.
could not be without a large library, the «Library of Babel» of a
BORGES art historian, in any case the first library of art history in
France. I welcome the commitment of the major Parisian universities, which have
entrusted to the Institute the management of the Jacques-DOUCET Library, a treasure
exceptional. Soon, with the input – that I hope next, and that I am working on
from the National Museums Central Library and part of the
collection of the library of the National School of Fine Arts, it will be
one of the world’s largest art history libraries at the heart of the site
history of the National Library of France, in the prestigious Salle
Around books and works, in this hive dedicated to beauty, its
memory and its interpretation, a real network that connects
the INHA, the National Heritage Institute (INP), the doctoral schools of
many universities in Paris, CNRS laboratories, universities
prestigious schools such as the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences
Social Studies (EHESS) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), without
forget “ARIAS” – nothing to do with Alfredo and Birds
of ARISTOPHANES – but a nice acronym to say “Workshop of
research on the intermediality of the performing arts”. In addition, the
scholarly societies and influential journals, including the founded Revue de l'art,
precisely, by André CHASTEL.
I was able to see at leisure earlier the happy interaction of all these
Colbert Gallery and the creative virtues of this new
how to design the “unit of place”…
This jewel in the heart of the Palais-Royal Quarter is all the more necessary
that it will in some way serve as a pole of attraction and reference
in a country that has finally opened the doors of its schools to the history of
art. The INHA takes its place at the precise moment when, under the impulse of the
President of the Republic, we decided to do education
arts and culture, a priority project.
The time has passed when we did not want to see in the «plastic arts»
enough practice to introduce students to the aesthetic treasures of
humanity. Practice is a necessary but not
understanding and knowledge of the arts. The introduction
of compulsory education in the history of the arts,
this partial approach, enriching the “arts” education with its
cultural component.
One day, I hope, this gesture will lead to the creation of a
history of art, for which André CHASTEL and many
of you here have lobbied. That would be, in my view, a necessity in order to
guarantee the quality of the content of this new discipline; even if, in
initial and in-service training for teachers of other
will provide a useful complement to their initial training. I know
that the community of art historians and museums are engaged and
I welcome the initiatives of the INHA and the INP in this sense, in particular
the organization of training seminars and the establishment of a
summer school which promises to have some success.
Initiation into art history must be one of the pillars of what I call
culture for everyone”, meaning the ability for everyone to establish
with works of art an intimate and enlightened relationship, personal and
developed. I am convinced that this is a “culture” issue in the sense
the very broad term, that is, the formation of taste and critical thinking,
in a word, a base of virtues that are apparently private, but which
look, are founders of our citizenship and living together.
Today, fortunately, Culture is no longer just a business
State, a matter of the State. The use of private sponsorship, in partnership
well understood with the public structures, has multiplied these last
years. It is in this spirit that the INP, with the Ecole du Louvre and the
Culture and Diversity Foundation, created a preparatory class
with the help of curators; it increasingly allows access to
each one to these trades which until then seemed to be reserved only for
It is time to come to another exemplary partnership, one that brings together
the INHA and the MONTALEMBERT Foundation, placed under the sign of this dream
what is this «mare nostrum», this Mediterranean which, since
and nourishes our cultures. I would like to thank
Manuela and Marc-René de MONTALEMBERT of their
generosity and commitment around this other form of ideal and
of «azure», closer and more familiar than the mallarméen sky... It is in
this spirit, I believe, that this Union for the
Mediterranean, if necessary for tomorrow’s world.
This new Prix Marc de Montalembert that you created in tribute
to your lost son, dedicates the excellence of a hard work – ladies first! –
by a young researcher – to whom he immediately brings a precious
I would like to congratulate this first laureate, Miss Chara KOLOKYTHA,
young and brilliant Greek researcher from the University of
Crete, in RETHYMNO, of this island which is a little the origin of the culture
European. If I’m not mistaken, this is where ZEUS brought the nymph
EUROPE… This prize is awarded to you to enable scientists
TERIADE research… TERIADE… I guess it’s not
not a new epic, a new ILIAD… I confess that, in
at first, this subject provoked in me the same type of
reactions that «The Peasant Knights of the Year Mil at Lake Paladru»
in On connaît la chanson d'Alain RESNAIS, become emblematic of
subjects of theses whose title is slammed before Béotiens… But he
is of course the great editor and critic of Greek origin, director
artistic magazine Minotaure (we still find the Cretan inspiration!),
the creator of books by legendary artists, such as The Song of
deaths due to REVERDY and PICASSO, such as Jazz by MATISSE or
such as GIACOMETTI Endless Paris…
TÉRIADE is also the founder of the mythical magazine Verve, who knew
the greatest painters and poets, whose influence is
has remained unparalleled. These are precisely the issues at stake in this review
to discover Chara KOLOKYTHA, a vast building site, where I am sure
that she will make great discoveries during her stays
This first Marc de Montalembert Award will therefore feed the long
A tradition of cultural friendship between France and Greece: this is also
a very beautiful symbol – I feel like saying a sumbolon, by alluding to
these ceramic fragments that in ancient times united two families
– a symbol of friendship and openness that is equally suitable for TERIADE
that the bees at the COLBERT Gallery…
Thank you.