Olivier Bonfait and Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Edited by Roger Diederen.French Artists in Rome: Ingres to Degas, 1803-1873. New York, Dahesh Museum of Art, 2003, 64pp.
French Artists in Rome: Ingres to Degas, 1803-1873 explores the influence of Rome – its art, culture, history, and landscape – on the young French artists who won the prestigious prix de Rome to study at the Villa Medici, the French Academy’s outpost in the Eternal City. One hundred thirty paintings, drawings, and sculptures reveal how this Roman sojourn of up to five years, underwritten by the French government, enabled these artists to study in the cradle of western civilization, to enjoy the heady intellectual life at the Villa, and to return to France utterly transformed. The catalogue illuminates the impact of this rite of passage upon Ingres, Cabanel, Bouguereau, David d’Angers, and many other major talents, as well as such artists as Corot, Degas, and Moreau, who worked in Rome independently. This publication accompanied a major exhibition shown at the Dahesh Museum of Art from September 3 through November 2, 2003 – a version of a larger presentation organized by Olivier Bonfait for the French Academy at the Villa Medici.