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Exhibition Review – The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy from 12th June to 19th August 2018

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is the world’s longest running annual exhibition of contemporary art and has been held each year without interruption since 1769. To celebrate the 250th anniversary, the Royal Academy presents a special exhibition that will run alongside the 2018 Summer Exhibition, The Great Spectacle tells the story of the annual show by featuring highlights from the past 250 years.

The exhibition features over 80 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints from the first Summer Exhibition through to the present day by artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kauffman, Elizabeth Butler, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence, John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, John Everett Millais, Sir Frederic Leighton, John Singer Sargent, Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Zaha Hadid, Sir Michael Craig-Martin, David Hockney and Wolfgang Tillmans, amongst others.

The exhibition begins with William Powell Frith’s, A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 exhibited in 1883, which depicts the characteristic hang of the Summer Exhibition with the familiar crowded arrangement of pictures.

The Summer Exhibition has since 1769 played an important role within London’s art world by allowing artists and architects to showcase their talents and compete with their rivals for the popular and critical acclaim.

The Great Spectacle exhibition is arranged in chronological sections: A Georgian Parade; The Rise of Genre Painting; The Triumph of Landscape; The Pre-Raphaelites Arrive; Victorian Acclaim; Dealing with the Modern; Exhibiting Architecture; Post-War Visions and New Sensations to allow visitors to take a journey through British art.

As you wander through the small intimate rooms, the story begins to unfold. Works from Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough vie for your attention as they would have done in the 18th century. 

Works from John Constable and Turner provide evidence of another golden age for British painting in the 19th century. 

The Victorians were great supporters of the Summer Exhibition which they attended in their thousands, John Everett Millais was a general favourite with the crowds.

Rodin’s The Age of Bronze provides a glimpse into the future with works by John Singer Sargent and Laura Knight providing some sense of the period at the start of the 20th century. 

Sir Winston Churchill’s Winter Sunshine, Chartwell was submitted in 1947 under the pseudonym David Winter and Pietro Annigoni’s Queen Elizabeth II attracted huge crowds when exhibited in 1955.

Peter Blake bought a sense of the 1960s which led the rise of Brit Art and artists who created works like Tracey Emin’s There’s a Lot of Money in Chairs exhibited in 2001 and Michael Craig-Martin’s Reconstructing Seurat (Orange exhibited in 2007. 

The intriguing Great Spectacle exhibition provides visitors with plenty of evidence that the Summer Exhibition is often an uneasy balance of the traditional and the new. Although we would consider Constable and Turner as traditional painters, in their day they were considered radical.

Over the period of 250 years, it is safe to say that some periods are more exciting than others but that is often seen in hindsight. People have attended the Summer Exhibition because they wanted to be amused and surprised by contemporary art. This is perhaps one constant that has changed little over the last 250 years of the exhibition.   

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

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Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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A Short Guide to The Royal Academy of Arts

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The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is one of the major art institutions in London and is based at Burlington House in Piccadilly. Unlike many other art institutions, The RA is an independent, privately funded institution led by artists. Whose mission is to promote not just the appreciation and understanding of art, but also its practice.

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The RA has an illustrious history being formed with the support of King George III, the idea was to form a society for promoting the Arts of Design. Although there were other artist societies, they generally just put on exhibitions. The RA wanted to become Britain’s first art school and provide a space to put on exhibitions that would advertise the talents of its members.

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Among the founder members were acclaimed painters Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Benjamin West. The R A was based first in a small gallery in Pall Mall before moving into the old then new Somerset House in 1780. The Academy then moved to the New National Gallery in 1837 before in 1868 locating in its present home in Burlington House in Piccadilly. Artists that have studied at the RA school have included J. M. W. Turner, William Blake, Thomas Rowlandson, John Constable and Edwin Landseer.

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The RA Schools is still an important part of the Academy and offers free tuition to all who study here. To help to fund the schools and other activities, the RA put on a series of world-class exhibitions throughout the year. Recent exhibitions have featured well known artists Ai Weiwei and Anselm Kiefer, but also feature lesser known artists like American abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn and the Renaissance artst Giovanni Battista Moroni.

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One of the most prestigious events of the Academy is the annual Royal Academy summer exhibition of new art, which is a well-known event on the London social calendar. Anyone can submit pictures for inclusion in the exhibition and those selected join the works of the Academicians. There are a number of social events associated with the exhibition and many of the works are available for purchase.

The Royal Academy of Arts is based in Burlington House, Piccadilly W1J 0BD.

Opening times

Monday 10am – 6pm
Tuesday 10am – 6pm
Wednesday 10am – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 6pm

For more information, visit the RA website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Book Review : Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art by Patrick Noon and Christopher Riopelle (National Gallery)

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Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art by Patrick Noon and Christopher Riopelle, is published by and copyright of National Gallery Company Limited in association with Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2015.

Patrick Noon in the prologue to this book states that ‘Modern Art History has perpetuated the fiction that modern painting commenced sui generis in France with the Salon des Refusés of 1863, the special exhibition of works by Édouard Manet and others who had been refused admission that year to the state sponsored annual exhibition in Paris of living French artists.” Noon argues that the principal characteristics associated with modernism were actually in evidence at the start of the nineteenth century especially amongst artists from the British and French Romanticism schools which included Theodore Gericault, J.M.W.Turner, Richard Parkes Bonington and Eugene Delacroix.

It is the influence of Eugene Delacroix that is the focus of the exhibition and book and the chapter entitled ‘What is Delacroix’ explores the artist’s life and career. Delacroix was born into a wealthy and influential family in 1798 and was bought up in times of great uncertainty within the French state. It was at this time that the stability and ideas of Great Britain were influential and Delacroix was inspired by the works of Shakespeare, Byron and Walter Scott. Orphaned at sixteen, Delacroix abandoned his classical studies at the  Lycée Impérial to pursue a less academic training, he gained significant insights by studying the old masters in the Musee du Louvre.

Remarkably, Delacroix’s first publicly exhibited picture, The Barque of Dante (1822) not only established his reputation but also divided opinion which would become a reoccurring theme throughout his career. A visit to London in 1825 led Delacroix to appreciate the work of British artists and the cultural influence of Shakespeare and Lord Byron. It was the death of Byron that inspired The Death of Sardanapalus which was exhibited in 1827. This work marked out a distinctive rejection by Delacroix of the French art establishment, Noon summarises Delacroix’s position ‘ the conventional formulas of French painting so defended by conservative critics were valueless if the artist’s imagination did not touch that of the viewer’.

However, fate was in Delacroix’s favour, when the 1830 July Revolution in Paris bought forth a more liberal regime and an invitation to travel with a government delegation to Morocco in 1832. This was a trip that made a great impression on the artist who would return to his North African adventures for the next three decades for inspiration for over eighty oil paintings. The artist welcomed the interval between witnessing the scene and painting, it meant that he could only recall the most striking and poetic aspect. Towards the end of the his career, Delacroix used his artistic imagination across a range of subjects including still life, landscapes, religious and literary subjects.

Central to the authors argument that Delacroix was one of the ‘fathers’ of modern art is providing evidence of his influence and inspiration on the artists of the subsequent generations. One of the authors, Christopher Riopelle explores this legacy in the chapter entitled Afterlife, when Delacroix died in 1863, one of his greatest supporters, Charles Baudelaire prophesied that the artist renown would continue long after his death. Riopelle points out that ‘ the reassessment of Delacroix’s legacy began in the immediate aftermath of his funeral’ when Ignace-Henri-Théodore Fantin-Latour  painted ‘Homage to Delacroix’ in which Fantin-Latour places himself alongside artists and writers grouped around Delacroix’s portrait. The painting from 1864 features Edouard Manet, Charles Baudelaire, James Abbott McNeill Whistler,  Alphonse Legros amongst others. Posthumous displays of his work, the sale of his studio contents and the publication of his ‘Journal’ added greatly to the artist’s legacy that permeated into the work of a number of late 19th- and early 20th-century painters that are associated with the rise of modern art.

The remaining chapters in the book explore the way that many of the ‘modern artists’ were quick to acknowledge their debt to Delacroix. Whilst Cézanne declared “We all paint in Delacroix’s language”, the authors of the book point out ‘the sincerest forms of respect that one artist can exhibit for another are extolling aspects of their professional persona; copying and collecting their paintings; or referencing a celebrated work in one of their own creations”. Cézanne’s The Apotheosis of Delacroix, Manet’s copy of The Barque of Dante, Gauguin’s Still Life with a sketch after Delacroix and Van Gogh’s Pieta ( after Delacroix ) are just a few examples in the book and exhibition that provide evidence of Delacroix’s influence. In some cases it was not just the paintings, Renoir followed in the footsteps of the artist by visiting North Africa in 1881 and painting a large-scale copy of the Jewish Wedding in Morocco.

Both the exhibition and the book provide important  insights into aspects of Delacroix’s career and his artistic legacy, the authors offer plenty of evidence that supports their thesis of the importance of Delacroix in the development of modern art. This well written and authoritative book is full of stunning full colour illustrations that show the importance of Delacroix’s use of colour and form to recreate the sensations experienced from nature. It is this colour and form that provided inspiration for a large number of ‘modern’ artists who would change the art world forever.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to buy a copy, visit the National Gallery website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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A Short Guide to Tate Britain

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The origins of Tate Britain lay in the collection of Henry Tate, an industrialist who had made his fortune as a sugar refiner. Tate offered his extensive collection of British art to the nation and the search for a suitable site began, it was also suggested that the new gallery would house other works of British artists from various other collections.

In 1892 the site of a former prison, the Millbank Penitentiary, was chosen for the new National Gallery of British Art,. the prison which was notorious for sending convicts to Australia, had been demolished in 1890.The gallery opened its doors to the public in 1897, displaying 245 works in eight rooms from British artists dating back to 1790.

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By 1917, the remit of the gallery changed. It was decided that the gallery would be the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day. In 1932, the gallery officially adopted the name Tate Gallery, by which it had popularly been known as since its opening.

The gallery is intrinsically connected with the works of J. M. W. Turner who left a large number of his works to the nation. To celebrate this connection Tate Britain hosts the annual and often controversial Turner Prize exhibition.

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The gallery became known as Tate Britain in 2000 and has an extensive permanent collection and holds a series of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. There are permanent spaces dedicated to the works of J.M.W Turner, William Blake and Henry Moore.

Video Review available here

For more information, visit the Tate Britain website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Review : The RA Schools Show at RA Schools Studios – 12th to 28th June 2015

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The RA Schools Show is the annual exhibition of works by final year students at the historic Royal Academy Schools, the first art school in Britain. The RA Schools was founded in 1769, and  are unique in offering the only three-year postgraduate programme in Europe. Perhaps more unusually,there are no fees and there is no curriculum but they centre the course around the specific needs of each individual artist. The RA Schools are partly supported by funds raised by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and are located within the Royal Academy complex behind Burlington Arcade.

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The RA Schools Show offers rare opportunity for visitors to walk around the historical RA Schools studios which are normally hidden from public view. The show itself showcase the talents of the next generation of artists, with exhibits including painting, sculpture, video, installation, photography and live installations.

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Many famous artists have studied at RA Schools including  J. M. W. Turner, John Soane, Thomas Rowlandson, William Blake, Thomas Lawrence, John Constable,  David Wilkie, William Etty and Edwin Landseer. More recently the Schools have taught Matthew Darbyshire, Anthony Caro and Rachel Champion.

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Following these illustrious predecessors are this years class of 2015 which includes Caroline Abbotts, Rebecca Ackroyd, Victoria Adam, Matt Ager, Sofie Alsbo, Hannah Bays, Josie Cockram, Henry Coleman, Adam Collier, Ziggy Grudzinkskas, Declan Jenkins, Maria de Lima, Evelyn O’Connor, Laurence Owen, Max Prus, Sean Steadman and Joel Wyllie.

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Each student offers their own particular vision of contemporary art with a diversity of approaches, media and materials, including woodcut prints, paintings,ceramics, sculptures and live installations.

Walking around the labyrinth of the studios is an experience in itself with each room offering a self contained display, a map is provided to navigate the studios and the corridors which are full of old sculptures and all kinds of weird and wonderful objects.

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Many of the students have created their own particular narratives that offer a complex array of ideas and objects, there is plenty of interest and for anyone interested in collecting contemporary art, many of the works are for sale.

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The RA Schools is a fascinating place and the RA Schools Show is an ideal opportunity to explore the historic yet very modern space, it is also a opportuniy to consider the work of the class of 2015 and consider whether they will the famous artists of the future.

Admission is free

Opening Times

10am – 6pm daily

10am –  10pm on Fridays.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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A Short Guide to St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral occupies a special place in the English identity especially in the Second World War when it managed to survive the Blitz and became a symbol of resistance.

There has been a Cathedral on this site since AD 604, The present Cathedral built in a English baroque style by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren is at least the fourth to have stood on the site. It was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. The cathedral has been at the centre of many famous events including the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; and the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.

At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London for many centuries and its dome is among the highest in the world.

St Paul’s has a large number of memorials and artworks including William Holman Hunt’s copy of his painting The Light of the World, in the north choir aisle is a sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Henry Moore, carved in 1943. The largest monument in the cathedral is the memorial to the Duke of Wellington. The tomb of Horatio, Lord Nelson is located in the crypt, next to that of Wellington. At the eastern end of the crypt is the Chapel of the Order of the British Empire, instigated in 1917, and designed by Lord Mottistone.There are many other memorials commemorating the British military, including several lists of servicemen who died in action, the most recent being the Gulf War.

Also remembered are Florence Nightingale, J. M. W. Turner, Hubert Parry, Samuel Johnson, Lawrence of Arabia and Sir Alexander Fleming as well as clergy and residents of the local parish. There are lists of the Bishops and cathedral Deans for the last thousand years. One of the most remarkable sculptures is that of the Dean and poet, John Donne.

St Paul’s Cathedral is a busy church with three or four services every day, including Matins, Eucharist and Evening Prayer or Evensong. In addition, the Cathedral has many special services associated with the City of London, its corporation, guilds and institutions. The cathedral, as the largest church in London, also has a role in many state functions such as the service celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The cathedral is generally open daily to tourists, and has a regular program of organ recitals and other performances.

The price of admission includes entry to the Cathedral floor, crypt and the three galleries in the dome. Admission also includes multimedia guides and guided tours (for individuals and family visitors, subject to guide availability on the day).

Sightseeing opening hours – Monday to Saturday

8.30am  Doors open for sightseeing
9.30am  Galleries open to visitors
4pm  Last tickets
4.15pm  Last entry to galleries
4.30pm  Doors close for sightseeing
Most visitors spend in the region of 1.5 – 2 hours inside St Paul’s.
On Sunday the Cathedral is open for worship only.

Filming and photography is not allowed inside the Cathedral, but is permitted on the external galleries, without tripods, on a non-commercial basis.

Special services or events may occasionally close all, or part, of the Cathedral.

For more information or book tickets, visit the St Paul’s Cathedral website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here