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École des Beaux-Arts

Coordinates: 48°51′24″N 2°20′01″E / 48.85667°N 2.33361°E / 48.85667; 2.33361
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Palais des études of the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

École des Beaux-Arts (French for 'School of Fine Arts'; pronounced [ekɔl de boz‿aʁ]) refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The term is associated with the Beaux-Arts style in architecture and city planning that thrived in France and other countries during the late nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century.[1]

The most famous and oldest École des Beaux-Arts is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, now located on the city's left bank across from the Louvre, at 14 rue Bonaparte (in the 6th arrondissement). The school has a history spanning more than 350 years, training many of the great artists in Europe. Beaux-Arts style was modeled on classical "antiquities", preserving these idealized forms and passing the style on to future generations.[2]


The origins of the Paris school go back to 1648, when the Académie des Beaux-Arts was founded by Cardinal Mazarin to educate the most talented students in drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, architecture and other media.[citation needed] Louis XIV was known to select graduates from the school to decorate the royal apartments at Versailles, and in 1863, Napoleon III granted the school independence from the government, changing the name to "L'École des Beaux-Arts". Women were admitted beginning in 1897.[citation needed]

The curriculum was divided into the "Academy of Painting and Sculpture" and the "Academy of Architecture". Both programs focused on classical arts and architecture from Ancient Greek and Roman culture. All students were required to prove their skills with basic drawing tasks before advancing to figure drawing and painting. This culminated in a competition for the Grand Prix de Rome, awarding a full scholarship to study in Rome. The three trials to obtain the prize lasted for nearly three months. Many of the most famous artists in Europe were trained here, including Géricault, Degas, Delacroix, Fragonard, Ingres, Moreau, Renoir, Seurat, Cassandre, and Sisley. Rodin however, applied on three occasions but was refused entry.[3] Paul Cézanne applied twice but was turned down.[4] Bernard was suspended for stylistic "errors".[5]

Courtyard of the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

The buildings of the school are largely the creation of French architect Félix Duban, who was commissioned for the main building in 1830. His work realigned the campus, and continued through 1861, completing an architectural program out towards the Quai Malaquais.[citation needed]

The Paris school is the namesake and founding location of the Beaux Arts architectural movement in the early twentieth century. Known for demanding classwork and setting the highest standards for education, the École attracted students from around the world—including the United States, where students returned to design buildings that would influence the history of architecture in America, including the Boston Public Library, 1888–1895 (McKim, Mead & White), the Supreme Court of the United States, (Cass Gilbert, Cass Gilbert Jr., and John R. Rockart), and the New York Public Library, 1897–1911 (Carrère and Hastings). Architectural graduates, especially in France, are granted the title élève.

The architecture department was separated from the École after the May 1968 student strikes at the Sorbonne. The name was changed to École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Today, over 500 students make use of an extensive collection of classical art coupled with modern additions to the curriculum, including photography and hypermedia.[6]


Notable instructors, Paris[edit]

Notable alumni, Paris[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City. Routledge. p. 202.
  2. ^ Pierre Bourdieu (1998). The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Stanford UP. pp. 133–35. ISBN 9780804733465.
  3. ^ "Rodin, Famous Sculptor, Dead". The New York Times. 18 November 1917. p. E3.
  4. ^ Riviere; Schnerb (10 July 2001). Conversations with Cezanne. UC Press. p. 86. ISBN 0-520-22519-8.
  5. ^ "Emile Bernard". Visual Arts Cork. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  6. ^ Online catalogue. "Entrée des artistes"
  7. ^ "Paul Andreu – French architect and engineer mostly noted for his numerous airport designs". structurae.net. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
  8. ^ Heydar, Ghiai, designer of the Iran Senate House
  9. ^ "Gourley, Alan Stenhouse, 1909–1991 | Art UK". artuk.org. Retrieved 6 January 2022.

External links[edit]

48°51′24″N 2°20′01″E / 48.85667°N 2.33361°E / 48.85667; 2.33361