The heritage of mentoring

The heritage of mentoring

Engaging with a mentor as a way to learn and achieve full potential as an artist is an ancient and respected practice. The formalized process appears in the works of the great thinkers of the golden age of the Greeks.

In more recent history, famous mentoring pairs include German composer and conductor Christian Gottlieb Neefe who was a role model for the boy prodigy Ludwig van Beethoven and French impressionist painter Camille Pissarro who devoted his life to nurturing young painters such as Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and Paul Cézanne.

Only in relatively recent times has mentoring been neglected. However, it is once again gaining popularity as an effective learning approach in diverse fields beyond the arts, including business and education.

Rolex’s vision for revitalising mentorship in the arts through the Arts Initiative is in keeping with its tradition of supporting individual excellence. Protégés in the programme are granted unparalleled access to the greatest artists in the world, many of whom welcome the opportunity to share wisdom, experience and ideas.

In the decade since the programme was launched, the mentoring programme has evolved from a simple top-down transmission of knowledge into an enriching dialogue between artists of different generations and cultures, helping protégés to affirm their personal artistic “voices”.