The Académie de France in Rome: the Mancini Palace

The Académie de France in Rome: the Mancini Palace

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  • View of the Mancini Palace.

    PIRANESE Giovanni Battista Piranesi, known as (1720)

  • Palace of the Academy of France in Rome.

    PERCIER Charles (1764 - 1838)

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Title: View of the Mancini Palace.

Author : PIRANESE Giovanni Battista Piranesi, known as (1720 -)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 40.6 - Width 62.3

Technique and other indications: Etching Original title: Veduta nella via del Corso del Palazzo dell'Accademia istituita da Liuigi XIV.

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: Prints and Photography - GC 28 FOL

© Photo National Library of France

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Title: Palace of the Academy of France in Rome.

Author : PERCIER Charles (1764 - 1838)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Made between 1786 and 1791

Storage location: Institute Library website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Institut de France) - Gérard Blot website

Picture reference: 05-529577 / MS1007-folio1-des2

Palace of the Academy of France in Rome.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Institut de France) - Gérard Blot

Publication date: May 2009

Doctorate in Art History

Historical context

Founded by Colbert in 1666 on the advice of painters Charles Le Brun and Charles Errard, the Académie de France in Rome occupies a special place in the vast apparatus of artistic establishments created for the glory of the "great king". The vocation of this institution is twofold: a delocalized school of fine arts, it should enable young French artists to assimilate the great models of art by offering them a board and a residence in the Eternal City. In exchange for this

training, these residents contracted the obligation to make copies of Roman works (ancient marbles, tapestry cartons) that could be used to decorate royal residences, the extent of which increases with major works. When it moved to the Mancini Palace in 1725, the institution gained a strategic place on the Roman artistic scene.

Image Analysis

Property of the Mancini family since the 16th centurye century, the palace was bought in 1725 by the Duke of Antin (director general of the King's Buildings) to install the Académie de France there according to the wishes of its new director, Nicolas Vleughels. The choice of the building was dictated by its distribution, decoration and proportions, particularly well suited to its new use. In the legend of the view he gives of the palace around 1757-1758, Piranesi has taken care to indicate its interior organization: several rooms on the ground floor, intended to receive educational activities, house plaster casts intended for to familiarize students with canonical models of sculpture; equipped with amphitheatres (visible on the map of Percier, architect resident from 1786 to 1791), two other rooms are devoted to the study of the living model, the foundation of all artistic practice.

On the noble floor are the reception rooms which, according to custom, integrate the royal apartment, adorned with marble and copies of antiques, as are all the public areas of the establishment. These "models of the rarest Statues and other vestiges of Roman Magnificence", associated with the tapestries of the Gobelins and the precious furniture sent from Paris, also make the Académie de France a place of representation of royal power. This concern weighed heavily in the choice of the palace, since the rue du Cours (Strada del Corso) on which it stands is a high place of sociability and the main theater of the Roman festivities. Placed halfway between the People's Square and that of Venice, the "Palace of the Academy instituted by Louis XIV" was, until the Revolution, eloquent testimony to the magnificence of the King of France.


The institution imposed itself on the Roman academic world by its usefulness: intended for boarders and all art students, its study classes based on the living or draped model make it an essential educational structure in the "capital of Arts ”. It was the only one to provide daily public education until the middle of the 18th century. Beyond its artistic function, the Academy is also a political symbol. Its location reflects the ambition of a king who intends to place his nation at the head of Europe: the artistic influence of his reign must accompany his military glory. But when the French Republic was proclaimed in the fall of 1792 and France ceased to be the "eldest daughter of the Church", the Academy's strategic location became a threat to its occupants. Welcoming neither more nor less the seat of a club of patriotic artists, the Mancini Palace soon became the emblem of an impious nation and crystallized the hostility of the Roman people: the anti-French riot which cost the life of the representative of the Republic Hugou de Bassville, January 13, 1793, led to the sacking of the Academy. The institution is abandoned for a decade. In December 1798, the palace was looted again, this time by the army of the King of Naples, which entered Rome to bring down the Roman Republic established by the French a few months earlier. To avenge the Pope's states that had been robbed of their heritage, she seized the Academy's collection of casts. This will be returned five years later to the newly restored institution in the Villa Medici.

  • French Academy in Rome
  • artist workshops
  • Fine arts
  • Italy
  • patrimony
  • painters
  • Rome
  • sculpture
  • rome price


Georges BRUNEL and Isabelle JULIA (ed.), Correspondence of the directors of the Académie de France in Rome, new series. II: directorate of Suvée, 1793-1807, Rome, 1984, 2 vol..Christian MICHEL, "The artistic relations between Italy and France (1680-1750): the contradiction of discourse and practice", Studiolo.Review of the history of art of the Académie de France in Rome, 1 (2002), p.11-19 Jules GUIFFREY and Anatole de MONTAIGLON, Correspondence from the directors of the Académie de France in Rome, Paris, 1888-1912, 17 vols.

To cite this article

Mehdi KORCHANE, "The French Academy in Rome: the Mancini Palace"

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