Because of its close proximity and relationship with France and Italy, Monegasque art shares many influences from these two capitals of European arts. The Grimaldi family, the ruling family for many centuries, did much for supporting the arts and creating organizations and foundations that help promote a variety of arts-related cultural events.
One of the more important prizes in visual arts is the International Contemporary Art Prize. First awarded in 1965, it has been given under the guidance of the Prince Pierre Foundation since 1983. The Prince Pierre Foundation was created by Prince Rainier III and named after and in honor of his father. The foundation’s main goals are to support, promote, and award the best of Monegasque art, music, literature, and dance.
For such a small place, theatres and museums dot the streets of Monaco. Cultural arts programs and festivals are held throughout the year, and awards are given out many times annually. Art galleries, like the famous Monaco Fine Arts or Monaco Modern Arts, are often popular with tourists and locals alike. Many talented artists throughout Europe showcase their work in galleries throughout Monaco. Architecture and design are also quite popular in Monaco as well.
Many writers from Monaco write in French, Italian, or Monégasque. And truthfully, many write in more than one language. One of the more famous writers from this small country is Louis Notari who wrote in both French and Monégasque. He’s often considered one of writers whose efforts were instrumental in promoting and establishing the Monégasque literary scene. To say he was merely the author of the lyrics to their national anthem is an understatement; this feat alone was a changing moment in their literary history. See, before this, the Monégasque language was pretty much an oral language—this was the first time it was used as a written language for anything significant.
Louis Frolla, following Notari’s lead, was also a Monégasque writer. His pièce de résistance was a grammar book on the Monégasque language and a French-Monégasque dictionary. Louis Barral wrote a complementary dictionary a couple decades later. (I wonder if being named Louis is a prerequisite.)
Many authors have used Monaco as a setting or a partial setting before in their novels and there are certainly travel guides, but finding Monaco-born authors is a little harder. There just aren’t that many out there, but perhaps more will start publishing some works and grow their local literary scene. There are some literary prizes awarded yearly, but I read that none have been given to writers who are actually from Monaco. I want to dig deeper into this to see if this is true and why exactly. I just find it hard to believe no one in this country has been published.
Up next: music and dance