Royal Academy of Arts

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The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by George III in 1768. Governed by artists to 'promote the arts of design' and was the first institution in Great Britain devoted solely to the promotion of the visual arts. The Royal Academy raised the standing of art, artists and architecture. It has held an annual selling exhibition since its formation and held its first loan exhibition in 1870 of 'Ancient Masters'. It now enjoys an unrivalled reputation as a venue for exhibitions of international importance.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

Sat-Thurs 10.00-18.00
Fri 10.00-22.00

Admission charges

Varies with each exhibition

Discounts

  • Museums Association

Collection details

Design, Fine Art, Architecture

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Academicians in Focus: Timothy Hyman RA

  • 30 April — 22 October 2015 *on now

This exhibition assembles some of the poignant and characterful drawings and paintings resulting from Timothy Hyman’s 60 visits to Maggie’s Centres as part of an artist’s residency from 2011–12.

Maggie’s Centres provide free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends. The first centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996, using a blueprint for cancer care established by Maggie Keswick Jencks before her death in June 1995. Since then the charity has commissioned a sequence of outstanding, modestly-scaled buildings sited alongside NHS hospitals
many being designed by major architects, often without fee.

A moving and sensitive portrayal of the inner life of the centres, this exhibition celebrates those who benefit from them – their gatherings, preoccupations, and individual journeys – and explores the essence of the buildings both spiritually and structurally.

Friends, Patrons & Corporate Members have access from 10am, general public from 4pm.

Suitable for

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/timothy-hyman-a-year-with-maggies

Unexpected Hill

  • 3 July — 20 September 2015 *on now

Visitors to Burlington Gardens will be welcomed this summer by a ceramic urban landscape designed by emerging Istanbul-based practice, SO? Architecture and Ideas.

Repositioning ceramics from a small-scale decorative material to one which creates a large surface structure, Unexpected Hill activates the forgotten zone between the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens building and the street into a new public space. Viewed from above, Unexpected Hill refers to the geometric patterning central to Islamic traditions that uses shape and colour for optical effect. The triangular patterning is stretched into a three dimensional structure that steps across the site and acknowledges ‘Muqarnas’, traditional architectural ornamented vaulting, as it bridges overhead. The structure transforms the scale and dimensionality at which ceramics are normally encountered.

Inside Burlington Gardens public participation is equally important with an interactive wall designed by Tamer Nakisç that invites creative exploration of ceramic tiles and geometry.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/unexpected-hill

sculpture: wooden box containg paper bird and newspaper clippings

Joseph Cornell Wanderlust

  • 4 July — 27 September 2015 *on now

Cornell hardly ventured beyond New York State, yet the notion of travel was central to his art. His imaginary voyages began as he searched Manhattan’s antique bookshops and dime stores, collecting a vast archive of paper ephemera and small objects to make his signature glass-fronted ‘shadow boxes’.

These miniature masterpieces transform everyday objects into spellbinding treasures. Together they reveal his fascination with subjects from astronomy and cinema to literature and ornithology and especially his love of European culture, from the Romantic ballet to Renaissance Italy.

Wanderlust brings together 80 of Cornell’s most remarkable boxes, assemblages, collages and films, some never before seen outside the USA. Entirely self-taught, the independence of Cornell’s creative voice won the admiration of artists from Marcel Duchamp and the Surrealists, to Robert Motherwell and the Abstract Expressionists, with echoes of his work felt in Pop and Minimalist art.

Admission

£11.50 (without donation £10). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/joseph-cornell

Daniel Maclise: The Waterloo Cartoon

  • 2 September 2015 — 3 January 2016 *on now

To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo a rarely exhibited treasure of the RA’s Collection, the Daniel Maclise cartoon, The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher after the Battle of Waterloo, will be on display after spending decades in storage.

Over 13 metres wide, it is one of the largest cartoons in the UK and was produced in preparation for a prestigious commission in the Houses of Parliament, where the the finished wall-painting is still on display. A work of monumental scale and drama it depicts one of the most significant battles in British history in incredible detail.

Maclise was a prolific painter and illustrator who was much admired for his draughtsmanship and his outstanding skill is showcased in the Waterloo Cartoon. Completed from 1858–1859 he used extensive research and eye-witness accounts to inform the work. Remarkably the piece does not portray triumphalism or glorify war, instead highlighting the tragedy and suffering of this ferocious battle.

The cartoon has recently undergone conservation treatment, thanks to funding from the Arts Council England, to allow it to be presented during this significant occasion.

Suitable for

Admission

Complimentary entry with a valid Royal Academy exhibition ticket or £3 General Admission ticket. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/maclisewaterloo

Thinking through drawing: Chris Wilkinson RA

  • 3 September 2015 — 14 February 2016 *on now

Giving a unique insight into the mind of an architect, the RA presents the personal sketchbooks of Chris Wilkinson RA.

To have an architect or artist share their sketchbooks is to be offered an extraordinary window into their creative process, to reveal their observations and their thinking, to see the designer’s mind at work. For an architect, the sketchbook is not just a place to draw, but a place to order thoughts – to graphically and visually gather information and to develop a design response.

This is certainly true for renowned architect Chris Wilkinson RA, who believes passionately in the importance of drawing by hand, particularly in an age dominated by digital media.

This exhibition contains a selection of Wilkinson’s sketchbooks, drawings and watercolours from the last 30 years alongside architectural objects. They reveal his design thinking, from initial site studies and early concepts to design development and construction, through projects such as the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, Maggie’s Centre in Oxford and the King’s Cross Gasholders.

Admission

Complimentary entry with a valid Royal Academy exhibition ticket, or £3 General Admission ticket. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/chris-wilkinson-thinking-through-drawing

photograph of Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

  • 19 September — 13 December 2015

Our most recent single artist shows have seen some of the true greats of contemporary art animate our Main Galleries with unforgettable, powerful work. Hockney, Kapoor, Kiefer – you need to be a special artist to embrace the immensity of our historic spaces. Who better then to take up the challenge this autumn than Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most influential artists.

Ai became widely known in Britain after his sunflower seeds installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010 but this will be the first major institutional survey of his work ever held in the UK and it will bridge over two decades of his extraordinary career.

Curated in collaboration with Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing, the RA presents some of his most important works from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Among new works created specifically for our galleries and courtyard are a number of large-scale installations, as well as works showcasing everything from marble and steel to tea and glass.

With typical boldness, the chosen works explore a multitude of challenging themes, drawing on his own experience to comment on creative freedom, censorship and human rights, as well as examining contemporary Chinese art and society.

Admission

£15.50 (without donation £15). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/ai-weiwei

white: a project by Edmund de Waal

  • 26 September 2015 — 3 January 2016

This unique project in the RA Library and Print Room is an exploration of the colour white and the impact that white objects have on their surroundings
an interweaving of words and books with sculpture, paintings and photographs.

Artist Edmund de Waal is the best-selling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes and the forthcoming The White Road. He has conceived and curated white, a project which sets objects in dialogue with one another and with the spaces around them.

White is not a neutral colour: it forces other colours to reveal themselves. Its blankness suggests both beginnings and endings, while its purity evokes impossibility and obsession. As a nexus for explorations of abstraction, minimalism and the spiritual, white has had special significance to artists across generations, and has fascinated de Waal himself since he made his first pot as a child.

From classical Greek statuary to a marble lantern by Ai Weiwei, and from Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Tea Set to porcelain pots by de Waal, diverse artworks united by the colour white await discovery alongside little known parts of the Academy’s own collections, including J.M.W. Turner’s porcelain palette. Interspersed amongst the library’s shelves and cabinets, these unexpected encounters invite a quiet and serendipitous journey of discovery.

Admission

£5

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/white-a-project-by-edmund-de-waal

Painting of woman with colourful gold robes

Jean-Etienne Liotard

  • 24 October 2015 — 31 January 2016

Jean-Etienne Liotard was an artist in great demand at noble courts across Enlightenment Europe. An eccentric and distinctive portraitist, he also made carefully observed scenes of contemporary life in far-flung locales.

Admission

£11.50 (without donation £10). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/jean-etienne-liotard

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

  • 30 January — 20 April 2016

Using the work of Monet as a starting point, this landmark exhibition examines the role gardens played in the evolution of art from the early 1860s through to the 1920s.

Trace the emergence of the modern garden in its many forms and glories as we take you through a period of great social change and innovation in the arts. Discover the paintings of some of the most important Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists of the early twentieth century as they explore this theme.

Monet, arguably the most important painter of gardens in the history of art, once said he owed his painting “to flowers”. But Monet was far from alone in his fascination with the horticultural world, which is why we will also be bringing you masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee.

For these artists and others, the garden gave them the freedom to break new ground and explore the ever-changing world around them. Highlights include a remarkable selection of works by Monet, including the monumental Agapanthus Triptych, reunited specifically for the exhibition, Renoir’s Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil and Kandinsky’s Murnau The Garden II.

As our galleries are bathed in the colour and light of more than 120 works, see the garden in art with fresh eyes.

Admission

£17.60 (without donation £16). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/painting-modern-garden-monet-matisse

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

RA Lates: Enchanted Cosmos

  • 5 September 2015 6:30-10pm *on now

A connoisseur of an astonishing range of subjects, Joseph Cornell was captivated with bygone imagery of celestial maps, fading European hotels, the Romantic ballet and Old Master paintings. At this Late event, we bring his eclectic imagination to life and recreate the worlds captured within his dreamlike, poetic assemblages.

Experience an immersive cosmic installation, Osmo, by Loop.ph who have created an inflatable infinity space that reproduces all 9000 stars visible to the naked eye. Visitors can bathe beneath the artificial stars, whilst listening to ambient music and live sounds from outer space.

Watch exquisite puppetry performances by Theatre of Dolls as they retell the beginning of the universe in our Fine Rooms and listen to opera performances by Carmen Monoxide.

Dance until late at our ‘disco in a box’, courtesy of Vintage Mobile Disco who will DJ from their soundsystem within a repurposed old laundry truck.

The Space Merchants will host screenings of fantastical sci-fi TV episodes from the 1960s, 80s and 90s, inspired by the Joseph Cornell exhibition.

Other delights include Cornell inspired collage-making, led by artist Kate Crossley and a cosmic salon hosted by The Royal Astronomical Society plus ballet dancing, and cosmic glitter makeovers by Tropical Bird Art, plus a spectacular Cornell-inspired cake made by chocolatiers Choocywoccydoodah, with more to be revealed on the night.

Dress code: please come wearing your finest cosmic inspired outfit, there will be prizes awarded on the night for the best dressed.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£22 (includes entry to Joseph Cornell and a cocktail).

Website

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/event/enchanted-cosmos

Lunchtime Lecture: An Introduction to Daniel Maclise: The Waterloo Cartoon

  • 14 September 2015 1-2pm

A lecture exploring Daniel Maclise's preparatory drawing ‘The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher’.

RA Friends Event: House of Lords Art and Architecture Tour

  • 24 September 2015 5-7pm

Led by specialist guides, Friends tour the state rooms of the House of Lords and the Royal Gallery, which features the Maclise mural of the Battle of Waterloo.

Friends of the Royal Academy only

Admission

Please note: this event is for Friends of the Royal Academy only.

Curator’s Collection Talk: The Waterloo Cartoon

  • 6 October 2015 3-3:30pm
  • 1 December 2015 3-3:30pm

RA Collection curator Annette Wickham introduces this epic cartoon by Daniel Maclise RA depicting the meeting of Duke of Wellington and his Prussian ally Field Marshall Blücher after the Battle of Waterloo.

Meet in the galleries; no booking required

Curator’s Collection Talk: Prints from the Napoleonic Wars

  • 3 November 2015 3-3:30pm

RA Collections curator Maria Alambritis introduces a selection of prints from the Royal Academy Collection, which depict events from the Napoleonic Wars.

Meet in the galleries; no booking required

Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London
Greater London
W1J 0BD
England

Website

www.royalacademy.org.uk/

E-mail

events.lectures@royalacademy.org.uk

Telephone

020 7300 8000

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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