Académie Royale

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The Académie Royale (royal academy) was the name given to the learned societies founded in France in the 17th century, largely on the initiative of King Louis XIV , with the aim of promoting the sciences and the arts. After the outbreak of the French Revolution , on August 8, 1793, the National Convention banned all academies. In October 1795, the Institut national des sciences et des arts was founded as its successor , a forerunner of today's Institut de France under whose patronage the academies were re-established as state institutions.

The academies

The following academies were founded:

Members of the academies were co-opted , and their public introductions became fashionable events over time. Memberships in the academies were associated with numerous privileges, such as pensions and other royal allowances. Last but not least, this incentive was one of the system's keys to success.

Académie française (1635)

Cardinal Richelieu laid the first prerequisites for the establishment of the academies in 1635 by founding the “Académie Française”. Her first task was to standardize the language and create a lexicon that was valid for all of France. Many great poets and writers have belonged to this academy over the years.

Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture (1648)

The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture was an artists' association approved by Louis XIV in 1648 . She performed advisory tasks, established rules for the production of ideal works of art, devoted herself to art teaching and also organized competitions, of which the Prix ​​de Rome was the most important. From 1666 this was linked to the financing of a multi-year stay for the award-winning painters, sculptors, and from 1683 also the graphic artist, in Rome - at the Académie de France à Rome, which was set up specifically for this purpose . The successor organization to the Académie royale, the Académie des Beaux-Arts still exists today.

Académie Royale de danse (1661)

The Royal Academy of Dance , founded in 1713, was affiliated to the Royal Academy of Dance , which was also created on the initiative of Louis XIV . In the same year the king made the opera with his ballet company of 20 dancers a permanent state institution. Today's Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris emerged from the dance academy .

Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1663)

The Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Fine Scripts emerged from the so-called "Petite Académie" (Small Academy) founded by Colbert in 1663, whose task it was to promote French epigraphy and to write the inscriptions for royal buildings and public monuments. For this Colbert put four members of the Académie française , from which the name "Petite Académie" explained. It has been renamed several times. In 1701 it was named "Académie royale des Inscriptions et Médailles" (royal academy for inscriptions and medals), in 1716 the name "Académie royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres". Today the official name is Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres .

Académie royale des sciences (1666)

The Academy of Sciences was founded by Colbert as a loose association. It was not until thirty years later that it received regulations and the status of a royal academy. Today it is affiliated with the Institut de France .

See: Académie des sciences

Académie royale de musique (1669)

The differentiated tasks of the Royal Academy for Music , based in the Paris Opera, were: the creation of artistic performances including the libretti, music, choreography, costumes, sets, productions; training students in the field of singing and the instrumental and performing arts; in a broader sense, it should also aim at the aesthetic “education” of the audience. The academy granted the privilege (monopoly) of the performance of operas to the librettist Pierre Perrin , who joined forces with the composer Robert Cambert . With royal approval, Jean-Baptiste Lully was able to acquire this privilege three years later .

Académie royale d'architecture (1671)

The Royal Academy of Architecture showed the minister Colbert from the created by him in the year 1665 "Conseil des Bâtiments" instigation. Its foundation was confirmed on December 30, 1671 by Louis XIV , who appointed the court architect and theoretician François Blondel (1618–1686) as its first director. The academy was the main advisory body for all questions relating to the highly developed building industry under Louis XIV. It was also a training center and awarded architecture prizes such as the Prix ​​de Rome from 1720 .


The intention of King Louis XIV was to have the best artists, architects, painters, poets, musicians and writers in Europe work for France. He developed an unprecedented patronage with the intention of influencing, shaping and directing the entire artistic landscape of France in order to instrumentalize it in the interests of royal politics. Art served the glorification of the king and his goals, in the baroque style. The reputation of the king and the state should be increased; to this end, Ludwig's minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, was charged with promoting literature, art and science. The minister was left with the organization of the King's "Gloire". Following the example of the Paris academies, local academies were established across the country.

The festivals in Versailles are also to be understood in terms of the monarch's self-portrayal . The representation of the king served the reputation of the state all over the world. Some artists climbed unimagined heights in the service of the king; Lully should be mentioned here in particular in the field of music and dance. But also Molière , who wrote countless plays for Louis XIV. Both artists were jointly responsible for the organization of the royal drama and opera events. In addition, such famous names as Boileau , La Fontaine and Racine should be mentioned.

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