The celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the École française de Rome are underway

The celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the École française de Rome are underway

Rome, 1st April. (Adnkronos/Labitalia) – The École française de Rome, a public body of a scientific, cultural and professional nature placed under the protection of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, whose mission is research and research training in archeology, history and other human and social sciences, from prehistory to the present day. Founded between 1873 and 1875 as an archeology school belonging to the older École française d’Athènes, opened in 1846, it was initially conceived as a stage for young researchers subsequently called to stay in Athens, who followed archeology courses in Rome for one year in order to perfect their training before arriving on the Greek shipyards. In 1875, however, the school acquired its own autonomy and took the name of École française de Rome, settling in Palazzo Farnese together with the permanent French embassy in Italy. Here, it holds a library of over 200,000 volumes, available to researchers from all countries, which also publishes around twenty volumes and the Mélanges magazine each year. Since 1975, it has also had a second location in the capital, at number 62 in Piazza Navona, for hospitality use, with rooms for conferences and seminars, a gallery for exhibitions and guest quarters. The École, which has welcomed PhD students, researchers and scientists for 150 years, has kicked off the celebrations for this important anniversary of its establishment in Rome, opening a program of events that will last two years and end in December 2025. The celebrations opened yesterday with a meeting in the presence of Nancy Berthier, director of the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid and president of the Network of Écoles françaises à l’étranger, and Véronique Chankowski, director of the École française d’Athènes, which was attended by a fifty French and Italian personalities, diplomats and international researchers. “From this month, the École enters the period of celebration of its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary – recalls Brigitte Marin, director of the École française de Rome – since three decrees marked its foundation: the one of 25 March 1873 creates a Roman section of the École française d’Athènes. With the decree of 26 November 1874, it took the name of École archéologique de Rome. A year later, the decree of November 20, 1875 established the École française de Rome, an autonomous public institution of archeology and history. We will continue to constantly organize a very rich program of scientific culture between international exhibitions and meetings, also open to the public and with free access, at the historic headquarters in Piazza Navona 62, aimed at sharing with everyone the topicality of knowledge and debates on the great questions of our time, in Rome”. The center for research and research training in history, archeology and the human sciences was created, in fact, between 1873 and 1875 in Rome on the initiative of some figures involved in the renewal of the French university after the war of 1870, with the ambition to affirm the presence of French science in the new European balance and create an effective research tool. Starting from the historical ties of the Écoles françaises of Athens and Rome, scientific members and collaborators of both schools met in Rome for this day of meetings dedicated to current research and to renew collaboration for the future. Since then, in fact, the two Écoles have not only complemented each other, but have never stopped building bridges between their different fields of study in the Mediterranean, exchanging methods and crossing skills. Both are now part of the Réseau des Écoles françaises à l’étranger, which also includes the Institut français d’archéologie orientale, the École française d’Extrême-Orient and the Casa de Velázquez. Retracing some pages of history, the study day aimed to cross points of view, from Athens and Rome, on the current state of research in archeology, history and social sciences, to open up new perspectives and encourage the conduct of shared research within the scientific communities linked to these two schools. During the day, among the numerous guests, the former director of the École française d’Athènes, historian specialist of Crete, Alexandre Farnoux (Sorbonne Université, Paris), the historian specialist of Roman religion and images, Valérie Huet (Centre Jean Bérard, Naples), the geographer and director of a program on crises and mutations in the Euro-Mediterranean space, Dominique Rivière (Université Paris Cité, Paris). The director of the École française d’Athènes, Véronique Chankowski, recalled: “Originally, in 1873, the École française de Rome was conceived by the Ministry of Public Education and the French Academy as an extension of the École française d’Athènes, the first French entity created abroad in 1846 at the birth of the modern Greek state and on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. The decree of 1873 and the resulting program envisage that the members of the École française d’Athènes spend a year in Rome, in the tradition of the study trip that has existed since the beginning of 1846, before reaching Greece, where they conduct archaeological explorations”. “It is thus that in the city of Rome, conceived as a universal museum, the members receive an erudite formation in archeology and art history through the monuments. This training must enable them, once on the ground in Greece and the Orient, to use their best skills in identifying and analyzing ancient remains. It is therefore interesting for us, today, to go back to the founding principles of our institutions to understand the evolution of the disciplines that have made school”, he added. The most important events of the anniversary of the École française de Rome will be held in 2024 and 2025 in coincides with the 150 years of French presence at Palazzo Farnese.The inauguration of the anniversary of the École in 2023 leads to a transversal look at its book heritage and its archaeological collection, as well as to the study of its history and its disciplines. As part of the celebrations, a new research project was launched into the history of its library collections between 1875 and 1958. In this context, the École française de Rome and the British School at Rome, with the support of the Center Gabriel Naudé (Enssib), have organized a meeting on ‘Research libraries abroad’, open to the public, for December 1, 2023, in Rome. In addition, the complete study and restoration of the archaeological collection of the École, which will be exhibited in a temporary exhibition in Piazza Navona in 2024, a permanent exhibition in Palazzo Farnese and in a digital version. Archaeologists Christian Mazet and Paolo Tomassini study this varied and original collection, trying to retrace the eventful history of its establishment. In the digital age, the exhibition itinerary will be accessible to the online public through the presentation of 3D models of the objects and the virtual rendering of the polychrome elements. Then, the Mediterranean, always at the center of the École’s insights, with the cycle of conferences entitled ‘The Ottomans and the Mediterranean past: narratives, heritage, heritage’, scheduled for 19 April at the French Academy in Rome at Villa Medici and on May 2 at the Institut français – Center Saint-Louis. For the seventh edition of the ‘Lectures méditerranéennes’ in Rome, the École française de Rome has invited Edhem Eldem, professor at the history department of the Bosphorus University in Istanbul. The first conferences were held at Palazzo Farnese and Palazzo Altemps, in partnership with the French Embassy in Italy, the Institut français Italia and the Museo Nazionale Romano. The cycle will resume in spring, on April 19 and May 2, with a double appointment at the French Academy at Villa Medici and at the Institut français – Center Saint-Louis. In this second part, Edhem Eldem will uncover little-known connections between the Ottoman world and Mediterranean heritage with two lectures entitled: ‘The Prehistory of Ottoman Museology: Visitors, Tourists, Monuments and Collections in Istanbul, 1800-1870’ and ‘The Ottomans in Andalusia: gazes crossed on the Alhambra in the long 19th century’.

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