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.
At the start of the academic year 2012-2013, the Programme La Seine will be superseded by a three-year doctoral-level program of Research through Artistic Practice.
In 2010-2011 ENSBA inaugurated a one-year post-graduate training program and scholarship for artists conducting an art or cultural project in an elementary or middle school (see Artistes Intervenant en Milieu Scolaire Program or AIMS, p. 132).
Beaux-Arts students benefit from a particularly active international exchange policy: the École has exchange agreements with more than 50 oreign art schools across the five continents, and each year several studio trips are organized in connection with original artistic projects related to specific partner schools (see p. 135). Nearly a fourth of Beaux-Arts students are of foreign nationality.
The Médiathèque, located on the first floor of the Palais des Études, offers students 45 000 directly accessible works as well as DVDs, video cassettes and electronic documents. The extremely varied documentary resources available to students are continually updated, providing students with an exceptional study environment (see p. 135).
The École offers a program of regularly scheduled cultural events embracing all artistic disciplines and dovetailing with life at the school. A full program of encounters, seminars, conferences, workshops, screenings and debates puts students in active contact with contemporary creation and art world issues (see p. 135).
The Beaux-Arts preserves a prestigious inheritance of books and iconographic and morphology collections linked to its history.
Many exhibitions are being held each year in various areas of the Beaux-Arts de Paris, intended not only for the general public but also to keep students closer to both contemporary art and art history evolutions. Works from the past and contemporary artists interventions coexist on the school site, thus fulfilling the École primary mission: the teaching of arts practices through assiduous study of art and great artists.
The halls of the Quai Malaquais, which are to be renamed Palais des Beaux-arts from Spring 2013 onwards, will host an exhibition programming of a vast historical spectrum, spanning from Renaissance to contemporary creation, showing the historic collections of the school but as well including students and recent graduates.
The chapel of the Petits Augustins, welcomes the presentation of outstanding artistic projects, in conjunction with external partners.
The Service de la communication and Service des expositions also accompany exhibition projects or interventions initiated by the workshops, often in collaboration with other institutions outside the school.
The École des Beaux-Arts Publications Office publishes approximately 20 works a year in various series — “Écrits d’artistes”, “D’art en questions”, “Catalogues d’exposition et guides”—and in the “Ateliers” series, which publishes works on École student studio exhibitions and travels.
Thanks to the missions and services that are the École’s vocation, and to its unique historical site, students enjoy and benefit from an exceptionally rich cultural and artistic environment.