L'Atelier de l'Europe

Discovering the Council of Europe’s art collection

This podcast gives you a chance to discover the Council of Europe through its art collection. You will learn how the Council of Europe, which was founded just after the Second World War, has traversed the ages and fashioned the Europe of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

From the Palais de l’Europe, the Council of Europe’s headquarters designed by the architect, Henry Bernard, past the bust of Winston Churchill, a section of the Berlin Wall and some more contemporary works, l’Atelier de l’Europe leads you through the secrets behind the most emblematic items in a collection of some 150 works made up of paintings, tapestries and sculptures.

In a unique dialogue, the podcast combines the accounts of artists and historians with testimonies of diplomats and political leaders and all those who have shaped the history of the Council of Europe..

12 episodes

The balance of forces - Palais de l’Europe (in French)

8 min 1 May 2024

And Henry Bernard created… the Palais de l’Europe. “Massive on the outside, yet harmonious on the inside,” the Council of Europe headquarters features a contrast of materials, lines and colours.

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Portrait of a giant – Sir Winston Churchill (in French)

8 min 5 May 2024

As early as 1946, Churchill advocated a union between European countries, the United States of Europe. “Ladies and gentlemen, beware, I am going to speak in French,” he said. The words of that brilliant orator still ring loud today at the Council of Europe, where he glares down at those who pass...

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The power of a word – Liberty (in French)

6 min 50 7 May 2024

Paul Éluard’s famous poem is one of the most vibrant accounts of universal resistance to oppression in the 20th century. It is the centrepiece of a huge, brightly-coloured tapestry based on a cartoon by Fernand Léger. In this work in movement, “colour seeps into the written word.”

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Closer to the sun – Europe or Western Art (in French)

8 min 10 May 2024

Jean Lurçat’s poetic universe explodes in these monumental tapestries in the form of multicoloured suns, floating beings, plants, insects and animals, interweaving the cosmos and human reality.

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The colours of freedom – Flag of the Hungarian Revolution (in French)

8 min 30 13 May 2024

The popular uprising in 1956 against the communist regime in Hungary marked a turning point in the country’s history. This flag from that time, with a distinctive hole in the middle, symbolises Hungary’s desire to throw off the Soviet yoke and move closer to Europe.

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12 stars on the moon – European Flag (in French)

5 min 23 15 May 2024

In 1972, on its return from space, the European flag was encased in a Baccarat crystal sphere created by Robert Rigot. This podcast tells the fascinating tale of the European flag, from its creation by the Council of Europe in 1955 through its trip to the moon.

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Dancing with destiny – Man, time and space (in French)

4 min 40 17 may 2024

This statue by Ion Mandrescu shows that humanism is not confined to a sphere or circle but can escape through the spiral of destiny. A degree of optimism about the human condition permeates the message of this work, which bravely accepts fatality.

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Sensitive matters – Human rights (in French)

7 min 12 21 May 2024

As a precursor to Arte Povera, Antoni Tàpies liked to work with simple materials. “Working with cardboard lets you say some quite serious things,” he said. The Catalan artist etched and textured his works to show the traces left by and on Humankind.

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Art tears down walls – Berlin Wall (in French)

7 min 40 23 May 2024

The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolised the reunion of Eastern and Western Europe. Over the years, the Wall was taken over by artists and anonymous individuals. These sections were chosen for their emblematic value: beneath a sentence in French, the word Freiheit (freedom) shines through.

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  • Monday 27 May: Strength in unity - Fish and shark by Turhan Selçuk
  • Tuesday 28 May: The messengers - Avenue of thoughts by Jean-Michel Folon
  • Saturday 1 June: Надія, Nadiya - Hope for Ukraine by Pedro de Andrade Nunes

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