The historical mission of the French Academy in Rome (known as "Mission Colbert") is to be a residency for fellows (known as "pensionnaires"). Since the XVIIth century, it has hosted artists and scholars, in order to allow them to pursue their work, studies and research. The French Academy in Rome has hosted the greatest French artists and architects of the past: Fragonard, Ingres, Berlioz, Carpeaux, Bizet, Debussy, Garnier.
It is now internationally open to all fields of literary and artistic creation, history of art as well as works of art and monuments restoration. Here resided among others in recent years Xavier Beauvois, Yan Pei-Ming, Valérie Mrejen, Philippe Rahm, Bruno Mantovani, Laurent Grasso, Yannick Haenel, Magic Malik.
In 2013, upon request of the French Minister of Culture and Communication Aurélie Filippetti, Mission Colbert was reformed in order to better adapt it to the evolution of the contemporary artistic context.