Heir to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture founded in the XVIIe century by Louis XIV, it remains a top meeting place for the creation, heritage and history, and plays an essential role in the artistic and cultural scene.
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The École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, located across the Seine from the Musée du Louvre in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is heir to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, founded in the 17th century by Louis XIV. History, long preserved state art collections and contemporary artistic creation come together in this institution, which occupies an essential place on the world stage of art and culture.
The École is overseen by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Its first mission is to educate and train students planning to devote themselves to high-level artistic creation. The school’s five-year course of study and practice provides students with the fundamental elements they need to develop and sustain their personal artistic undertakings, and a full understanding of what is at issue in making art today. Education and training are organized around work in artistic practice studios run by renowned artists. Transdisciplinarity, practice diversity, multiple fields of experimentation and free movement among different approaches and specialization areas are encouraged. The school delivers two consecutive degrees: the first-cycle degree, upon successful completion of the three-year first cycle of study, and the Diplôme National Supérieur d’Arts Plastiques (DNSAP), after successful completion of two additional years called the second cycle. The École’s study program is aligned with the European Union system of first and second-cycle qualification, and the school defined its curricula according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
In 2009, five of the École’s technical skills studios — ceramics, forging, composite materials, mosaics and stonecutting-woodcutting — were opened together in a building leased to crafts, arts and technology companies in the center of the renowned antiques market district of Saint-Ouen, just outside Paris.
The Artistic Practice Department is made up of 26 studios run by École faculty members, all renowned artists. The studio is a space for practice, experimentation, creation; also for debate, exchange and critique.
And at certain moments of the year — student evaluations and graduation — it becomes an exhibition space.
Students must enroll in an Artistic Practice studio each and every semester. First-year and other new students are encouraged to meet with several studio artist-professors at the beginning of the school year before choosing their studio, with studio professor’s agreement. Students may remain in the same studio throughout the five years or change studios depending on the direction their work is taking and with the agreement of the professors in charge.
The studio is both a physical and mental space for art training. Students of all levels—first to fifth year—cohabit in it, usually practicing pluridisciplinary creation techniques. Studio teaching methods combine personalized attention and the collective dimension of exchange; the aim is to foster students’ individual commitment to their art by helping them gradually to construct a personal artistic language. Theoretical, critical and technical knowledge and know-how intersect and mutually enrich students’ art work while helping each to situate himself or herself within a network of meanings and interpretations.