Prix de Rome

French scholarship for arts students

The Prix de Rome was a scholarship (money prize) for art students in Paris. It was created in 1663 in France when Louis XIV was reigning. Every year the prize was given to promising young painters, sculptors, and architects. They had to finish a very difficult piece of work to show that they deserved to win the prize. The person who won the prize would get money so that he could go to Rome for a year to study. Sometimes they were allowed to stay longer if they were doing exceptionally good work.

In 1803, music was added to the subjects, and in 1804 engraving was added. Sometimes people won “second prize” which allowed them to study for a shorter period.

Many artists who won the Prix de Rome are now almost forgotten. On the other hand, there are many artists who became very famous but did not win the Prix de Rome. These people include Augustin Pajou Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and the composers Ernest Chausson and Maurice Ravel. Ravel tried five times to win it. There was a big argument about this at the Paris Conservatoire, and rules were reorganized after that.

The Prix de Rome continued to be awarded until 1968 when it was stopped.

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