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In France in the early 19th Century the award of the Prix de Rome by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts depended on an annual competition. As well as the Prix de Rome for History Painting, a prize for Historical Landscape was instituted in 1817. The examination was tri-partite. The first stage required the execution of an esquisse (sketch study).
The second stage, named Concours de l’arbre, lasted six days, during which the contestants painted, in isolation and from memory, a picture that featured a tree as its dominant motif and a narrative subject in which the figures had to be “at least four inches in height”.
The final stage was the painting of a finished historical landscape, the subject determined in advance by the jury. Faith appears as a more completed historical landscape with both trees and Palladian architecture featured, for which it reflects more the final stage for the prize.
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