Pajou, Augustin

Pajou, Augustin

Pajou, Augustin, 1730-1809, French sculptor. He won the Prix de Rome at the age of 18 and began a long career of royal commissions. He is noted for the elegance of his decorative work, particularly of the Opéra, Versailles (1768-70). His best works are his portrait busts, among which are those of Pascal; Descartes (Institut, Paris); and Buffon and Mme Du Barry (both: Louvre).
This article concerns the French government prize. For similarly named prizes aimed at other countries' nationals, see Prix de Rome (disambiguation).

The Prix de Rome was a scholarship for art students. It was created in 1663 in France under the reign of Louis XIV. It was an annual burse for promising artists (painters, sculptors, and architects) who proved their talents by completing a very difficult elimination contest. The prize, organised by the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture (Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture), was open to their students. The award winner would win a stay at the Mancini Palace (Palazzo Mancini) in Rome at the expense of the King of France. The stay could be extended if the director of the institution deemed it desirable.

Expanded after 140 years into five categories, the contest started in 1663 as three categories — painting, sculpting, and architecture; in 1803, music was added; in 1804, engraving was added. The winner of the "First Grand Prize" (called the agréé) would be sent to The Academy of France in Rome founded by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in 1666. There were also "Second Prizes" that allowed participants to go to the same academy, albeit for a shorter period of time.

Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Ernest Chausson and Maurice Ravel attempted the Prix de Rome, but did not gain recognition. Jacques-Louis David, having failed three years in a row, considered suicide. Ravel tried a total of five times to win the prize, and the last failed attempt in 1905 was so controversial that it led to a complete reorganization of the administration at the Paris Conservatory.

The Prix de Rome was suppressed in 1968 by André Malraux, who was Minister of Culture at the time. Since then, a number of contests have been created, and the Academies, together with The Institute of France, were merged by the State and the Minister of Culture. Selected residents now have an opportunity for study during an 18-month (sometimes 2-year) stay at The Academy of France in Rome (presently accommodated in the Villa Médicis).

Winners in the Architecture Category

This is an incomplete list. From 1722 to 1786, a Grand Prix de Rome in architecture was awarded by the Académie d'architecture - its first holder was Jean Michel Chevotet.

Winners in the Painting Category

Winners in the Sculpture Category

Winners in the Engraving Category

The engravery prize was created in 1804 and suppressed in 1968 by André Malraux, the minister of Culture.

Winners in the Musical Composition Category

After 1968, the Prix de Rome changed formats and the competition was no longer organised.


External links

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