As the Young Masters Call for Artists comes to a close and the deadline for applications fast approaches, we cast a look back at the history of the European art prize to recognise Young Masters as a reinterpretation and revivification this great tradition.

With a spring call for entries, followed by a summer touring exhibition, Young Masters bares semblance to the format of the most prestigious and acclaimed art prizes throughout history.

The multi-disciplinary scope of Young Masters, welcoming artists working in all media, from engraving to performance to Virtual Reality, has roots in the award structure of the 17th century Prix de Rome. Just as the Prix de Rome honored the work of painters, sculptors and architects with individual prize strands categorised by media, Young Masters exercises an inclusive, non-hierarchical approach to the arts. The Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize represents a separate platform for ceramics and celebrates the creativity, innovation and excellence of this artistic medium.

The Salon de Paris, beginning in 1667, was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and in its heyday, held in the Palace of the Louvre, came to be arguably the greatest annual or biennial art event in the Western world. Exhibition at the Salon de Paris was essential for any artist to reach acclaim in France for at least 200 years. Today, Young Masters represents a gateway for emerging artists towards success in the art world; past alumni have gone on to practice and exhibit internationally.

The Salon exhibited paintings floor-to-ceiling, covering every available inch of wall space. This jostling of artwork became the subject of many paintings and it pervades to the iconic curatorial style of The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London. Previous Young Masters exhibitions also borrowed from the liveliness of the “Salon-hanging”. This Summer, Shortlisted Artists are given the opportunity to exhibit in the heart of London’s St James.

You can find a comprehensive exhibition program here.

There’s still time to APPLY! Applications for the Fourth Edition of the Young Masters Art Prize and the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize are open until 31st March 2017.

Image Credit: Lluís BarbaGallery of Views of Modern Rome. Giovanni Paolo Pannini, 2012. C-type print, Perspex mounted. 182.1 x 235.5 cm. 71 3/4 x 92 3/4 in. Edition of 6.

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