The Legacy of Homer: Four Centuries of Art from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

From its founding in 1648, the Academie royale de peinture et de sculpture and its successor, the Ecole nationale superieure des beaux-arts in Paris, were devoted to the Greek model. Mythology and poetry, along with the study of sculpture, were the foundations of academic teaching there. As a result, Greek gods and heroes were reborn in innumerable works by pupils and teachers of the Ecole. This lavishly illustrated book explores the impact of the poet Homer on four centuries of French artists through the lens of the Ecole's superb collections of paintings, prints, and sculptures. The Ecole was the most important venue for academic training of artists in Europe as well as for many nineteenth-century American artists who studied in Paris, including Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent. The Ecole's collections--which feature works by great artists who were first students and later instructors (Francois LeMoine, Jacques-Louis David, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres)--were intended to enhance students' taste through study and emulation. With illuminating texts by prominent French scholars and a preface by George Steiner on the reception of Homer in France, The Legacy of Homer examines the historic and artistic importance of the works housed in the Ecole and pays homage to Homer, the great source that inspired them.