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Jan Sluijters, Eliza and the son of the Sunamitic woman, 1904. The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage. First Price for Painting

The extensive and much varied selection of works of art gives an insight into the ever changing views on the role of the artist, ideas about art and architecture within society and the development of the Dutch artistic climate throughout the years. The exhibition is an anthology on art and architecture from 1808 till now: from the idealism by J.E.C. Alberti and the realism by Charles Eyck up to the contemporary art by Charlotte Schleiffert and Elspeth Diederix.

Art and Judging

Fragments from the reports of the Jury Committee, letters by artists, personal stories by winners, paraphernalia and other documentary material further color the history of the Prix de Rome. The material sheds light on the past and the background of the art prize and tells the story of success, triumph and competition. The exhibition deals with the development of the competition and the journey to Rome made by the first winners of the Prix. Besides this, it becomes clear how both the nomination - and judging process of the contestants of the Prix de Rome progresses and in what way the harsh academic practice of this radically changed after 1985.

Prix de Rome

It was in 1808, during the French domination, that King Louis Napoleon introduced the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands. He turned the spotting, stimulating and cherishing of talent into a state affair. Since the foundation of the Rijksacademie in 1870 the Prix de Rome has been attached to this institute. Up to this very day the Prix de Rome has been an encouragement prize for young artistic talent. The original prize, a journey to Rome, has currently been replaced by a stipendium. The Prix de Rome has been attributed to renowned winners, such as Jan Sluijters (1907), Erik Andriesse (1988) and Viviane Sassen (2007) and architects like Cornelis van Eesteren (1921), Wim Quist (1958) and Ronald Rietveld (2006).

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Ronald Rietveld, Generating Dune Scapes. Collection of the architect. First Price for Architecture

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J.E.C. Alberti, Warrior with drawn sword, 1808. Collection Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. One of the winners of the Prix de Rome 1807

In cooperation with the Rijksakademie, Kunsthal Rotterdam presents the rich history of the oldest art prize for visual art and architecture in the Netherlands in the big daylight hall during the exhibition ‘200 years of Prix de Rome’. Over 150 paintings, drawings, objects, scale models and videos provide us with a unique outlook on two centuries of Prix de Rome. A great number of the works have never been exhibited before. Besides works of art of amongst others Jan Sluijters, Pier Pander en Alicia Framis, various excerpts from reports of the jury committee, correspondences and personal stories by participants and Prix winners give an image of the background and development of the Prix de Rome. The historical retrospective shows the art prize mirroring modern art throughout the times, from the earliest winner J.E.C. Alberti in 1808 to the winning photographs by Viviane Sassen in 2008.

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Viviane Sassen, D.N.A,, 2007. Courtesy Motive Gallery. First Price for Visual Arts 2007 

National Heritage