In commemorating the centennial anniversary of the birth of Prince Rainier III this year, Monaco took a heartfelt stroll down its own history. The tale of our small Principality was warmly revealed through numerous exhibitions, installations, and events. These tributes, filled with love and a sincere remembrance of ‘The Builder Prince’, gently illuminated the life and legacy of a truly creative prince.

Yet, it is imperative to delve into the artistic soul that resided within this robust and influential figure. Perhaps you attended the summer exhibition dedicated to Prince Rainier III at the Palace, where his metallic masterpieces took centre stage. Prince Rainier, it turns out, was a vibrant metal artist, sculpting figurines clowns, animals, flowers, and cars – a manifestation of his fervour for the circus, animals, and Formula 1.

Beneath the veneer of a stalwart ruler, Prince Rainier possessed the heart of a skilled young draftsman. His penchant for sketching, albeit rebelliously in school textbooks, revealed a mastery of lines and a keen sense of composition.

Until the end of December 2023, there is a special event for those curious about Prince Rainier III’s artistic talents – a centenary exhibition exploring the details of his life and work.

Conceived and curated by the renowned journalist covering royal events, Stéphane Bern and Monaco’s former Director of Monaco Cultural Affairs, Christian Curau, this exhibition at Quai Antoine 1er stands as an absolute must-see for residents and visitors alike. It unveils a visual tapestry of how Monaco has transformed over the past century, shaped by the visionary Prince.

While Prince Rainier is widely recognized as a builder prince, responsible for the myriad creations dotting the Monaco landscape, the true revelation from this exhibition lies in uncovering his artistic talents. A stroll through the exhibition exposes early teenage caricatures – skilfully executed studies found in his textbooks – that depict a creative and adept artistic mind, even in the midst of his serious demeanour.

The exhibition further unveils Prince Rainier as a multifaceted individual – a talented and impassioned actor who once graced the student theatre. However, destiny dictated that he ascend to the role of ‘The Ruler Prince’, compelling him to pursue political studies in Paris. Despite this, as the ruler of a nation, he redirected his passions toward altruism – establishing the Festival of Circus, creating a Music Academy, launching the Festival Printemps des Arts and many others. He opened museums, providing unwavering support to countless artists, musicians, writers and creatives throughout his life.

One more compelling reason to visit the exhibition lies in the meticulous details and scenography crafted by Coraline Delorme and Thomas Guillaume. Often overlooked, the success of the exhibition hinges on their expert curation, evident in the colours of the walls, the play of lights, and the unconventional presentation. Personally, I was captivated by an unexpected view of the Port of Monaco through an open window as well as framed by metal walls in rooms showcasing Prince Rainier’s transformative constructions – a visual testament to the profound impact he had on Monaco’s architectural landscape.

In its concluding remark, the exhibition remains accessible daily from 13:00 to 19:00 at Salle Expositions on Quai Antoine 1er, continuing until December 31, 2023.