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Visit from Ecole du Louvre Forges Academic Exchange and Cooperation between France and Taiwan

The Director of the Ecole du Louvre, Claire Barbillon, visited National Taiwan Normal University on 27 April. During her visit, she not only led students in exploring the beauty of classical sculptures, but also established with NTNU a channel for greater academic exchange and cooperation between France and Taiwan as the Ecole du Louvre and NTNU reached a consensus to sign a memorandum of understanding for academic cooperation as well as an agreement for student exchange.

Founded in 1793, the Louvre Museum is a famous landmark in the heart of Paris, renowned for its rich collection of classical paintings and sculptures. The Museum houses the Ecole du Louvre, an institution of higher education founded in 1882 and managed by the French Ministry of Culture. It offers courses steeped in the history of art and human civilization. This school within the Louvre works together with many universities and museums all over the world and has also produced countless talents specializing in various fields such as art, literature, and archaeology.

Upon taking office in 2017, Claire Barbillon became the first female director of the Ecole du Louvre. As a researcher, she specializes in the history of sculpture and art history and has been awarded the Order of Arts and Letters as well as the Knight of the French Legion of Honor, among other distinctions.

Director Barbillon and Dr. Marie Chang-Ming Peng, Professor of Contemporary Art and Museum Studies at Charles de Gaulle University-Lille III, met and exchanged ideas on academic cooperation with NTNU President Cheng-Chih Wu. Also in attendance were Dr. Yi-De Liu, Vice President for International Affairs; Dr. Chien-Cheng Liu, Dean of the College of Arts, Dr. Shih-Ming Bai, Chair of the Department of Fine Arts; Dr. Candida Syndikus, Director of the Graduate Institute of Art History; and Dr. Chia-Ling Lai, Director of the Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism.

Professors Barbillon and Peng not only visited the College of Liberal Arts and the rest of the campus surroundings, but they also focused especially upon the 31 plaster statues that NTNU had purchased from the Louvre decades ago, which were restored last year. Director Barbillon had brought a commemorative exhibition booklet all the way from France as a gift. Meanwhile, President Wu presented a book entitled Journey to Soul Mountain, published in 2021, which is a collection of paintings by French national and NTNU Chair Professor Gao Xingjian. The visitors then toured the Gao Xingjian Center, located on the sixth floor of the University Library.

Louvre Plaster Statues and Western Art Education Promotion Project Guide Students in Exploring the Beauty of Classical Sculptures

On 28 April, the Department of Fine Arts of National Taiwan Normal University held an event entitled 'Re-emergence of the Classics – Louvre Plaster Statues and Western Art Education Promotion Project' at Teh-Chun Gallery. Director Barbillon gave a lecture entitled 'References to Ancient Statues in the Sculpture of the 19th Century and the First Half of the 20th Century” with Mr. Chung-Yen Lu providing full interpretation, enabling students to more deeply explore the beauty of classical sculpture. Dr. Ching-Jung Chen, Professor Emeritus for the Department of Fine Arts, and Ms. Lou Mo from the French Office in Taipei were among the event participants.

Every available seat at Teh-Chun Gallery was taken for Barbillon’s lecture, a testament to the enthusiastic reception by students and faculty. Director Barbillon focused on how ancient Greco-Roman works influenced French sculpture from the 19th to the early 20th century. During this period, the French understanding of ancient Greek sculpture was mostly developed through reproductions of Roman originals. These replicas not only gave French sculpture a classical dimension, but continue to influence also the work produced by later generations.

Following Director Barbillon's lecture, Professor Chang-Ming Peng was invited to speak on 'Ancient Sculptures as the Source of Inspiration for Contemporary Art Creation from the Second Half of the 20th Century to the Beginning of the 21st Century.' Dr. Peng also shared a 1963 graduation photo of her parents, Mr. Wan-Chih Peng and Mrs. Ke-Ming Duan. Both were outstanding graduates of NTNU’s Department of Fine Arts and long-time residents of Paris. The Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris recently held a large retrospective exhibition in his honor, attesting to Mr. Peng’s international status and high repute within the art community of France.