Capital of a new canton
The former School of Painting
The first school of painting, the predecessor of the ECAL (Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne), was created by the Vaud government in 1821 to give training in both fine and applied arts. Its director was the painter Louis Arlaud (1772-1845). The building which housed it was built between 1821 and 1822 by the local engineer Adrien Pichard (1790-1841), who had recently completed ten years of study in the Grandes écoles in Paris.
The otherwise modest structure is enhanced by its corner position and a broad open space. The composition of its façades and fenestration shows a skilful balance. The ground floor in dressed stone serves as a pedestal for the two upper floors, while the range of semi-circular bays on the first storey focuses attention on it. The neo-classical tone, rare in Lausanne, evokes ancient Rome. It is especially marked by the vertical volume, the refined geometrical decoration and the gable-pediment with its window in a half-circle. Pichard used this style again for the Grand-Pont, whose overlaying monumental arches recall the famous Pont du Gard aqueduct.
The school numbered 70 pupils in 1824. It moved into the new Fine Arts Museum, the current Espace Artaud, in 1840.