The French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici is a French artistic institution based in Rome . Conceived by the decree of 1971 as an ideal place for Italian-French meetings, Villa Medici plays a decisive role in Roman and European cultural life : it participates in cultural and artistic exchanges, organizes exhibitions, concerts, conferences and seminars on themes relating to the arts, letters and their history.
The French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici was created in 1666 on the initiative of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Charles Le Brun and Gian Lorenzo Bernini and welcomed both the winners of the Prix de Rome and the fellows protected by the great French nobles. The young artists appointed by the king had the opportunity to increase their training thanks to contact with Rome and Italy.
Before finding its definitive location at Villa Medici in Rome in 1803, the French Academy in Rome had several locations.
In 1961 André Malraux appointed the painter Balthus as director of the Villa: the joint will of these two personalities allowed a profound reform of the Academy. Balthus undertook an important restoration of the building and organized events to open the Villa to the Romans. This new approach was ratified with a decree of 1971, which sanctioned autonomy from the Académie des Beaux Arts . The length of the stay went from four to two years at the most, and writers, filmmakers, photographers, set designers, art restorers and art historians expanded the circle of fellows.
Today the French Academy in Rome welcomes artists and researchers in residence to allow them to carry out their research projects.
It also offers an interesting cultural program, organizing exhibitions, concerts, screenings, literary meetings and conferences.
It also takes care of conserving and making Villa Medici and its gardens known.