Friday, October 31, 2014

Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London

The Royal Academy of Arts announces the most significant touring exhibition of its Collection in its 246-year history. Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London opened 2 March 2014 at Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia. 

Spanning 150 years of the Academy, the exhibition focuses on a key period of the RA Collection: the so-called ‘long nineteenth century’ from 1768-1918. Comprising 56 paintings, twenty drawings, nine prints, eight historic books, two photographs and two sculptures, the display will also tour to four venues in Japan, between August 2014 – April 2015.

Several works in the exhibition have never travelled outside of the UK before, including 

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA’s Theory (1789-90), and

Sir Ernest Waterlow RA’s The Banks of the River Loing (1903) 

Further highlights of the exhibition include 

JMW Turner RA’s Dolbadern Castle (1800), 

John Constable RA’s Boat Passing a Lock (1826), 

Henry Fuseli RA’s Thor battering the Midgard Serpent (1790),

Thomas Gainsborough RA’s Romantic Landscape with sheep at a spring (c. 1783), 

John Singer Sargent RA’s Interior in Venice (1899) and 

John William Waterhouse RA’s A mermaid (1900). 

also in the exhibition:

Charles West Cope's 'The Council of the Royal Academy Selecting Pictures for the Exhibition, 1875' (1876) | © ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON; PHOTOGRAPHER: JOHN HAMMOND

More images here


This exhibition has been organised by MaryAnne Stevens, former Director of Academic Affairs, Royal Academy of Arts; Helen Valentine, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, Royal Academy of Arts; Karen Quinlan, Director, Bendigo Art Gallery, and Tansy Curtin, Curator, Bendigo Art Gallery.

Exhibition tour

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan: 1 August – 27 August 2014
Tokyo Fuji Museum of Art, Japan: 7 October – 30 November 2014
Shizuoka City Museum of Art, Japan: 9 December 2014 – 25 January 2015 Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Japan: 3 February 2014 – 5 April 2015


A fully illustrated catalogue, with essays by Tansy Curtin, Nick Savage, MaryAnne Stevens, Helen Valentine and Annette Wickham, has been produced to accompany the exhibition tour. Delving into the history of the Academy and its Collections, from its foundation until the First World War, the publication covers the Academy’s complex role in the history of art and the teaching of art in Britain and abroad. In addition to in-depth explorations of the Royal Academy, the Royal Academy Schools and the RA Library, the book also assesses the importance of the Academy for Australian artists, who travelled to London to study and exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts.