Emmanuel Schwartz, Preface by George Steiner and Essay by Philippe Sénéchal, The Legacy of Homer: Four Centuries of Art from the École Nationale Supéreure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Yale University Press in assoc. with the Dahesh Museum of Art and the Princeton University Art Museum, 2005, 384 pp., 125 color and 85 b/w illustrations. A lively and learned study of the critical fortunes of Homer and Greek myth in French academic art from the 17th – 20th centuries
From its founding in 1648, the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and its successor, the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, were devoted to the Greek model. Mythology and poetry, along with the study of sculpture, were the foundations of academic teaching there. As a result, Greek gods and heroes were reborn in innumerable works by pupils and teachers of the École. This lavishly illustrated book explores the impact of the poet Homer on four centuries of French artists through the lens of the École’s superb collections of paintings, prints, and sculptures.
With illuminating texts by prominent French scholars and a preface by George Steiner on the reception of Homer in France, The Legacy of Homer examines the historic and artistic importance of the works housed in the École and pays homage to Homer, the great source that inspired them.
Emmanuel Schwartz is curator at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. George Steiner, Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University, is the author of several books published by Yale University Press, including Grammars of Creation. Philippe Sénéchal is professor of history at the University of Amiens.