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Exhibition Review: Helene Schjerfbeck at the Royal Academy from 20 July to 27 October 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts presents an exhibition which covers the long and productive career of Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862 – 1946). The exhibition is the first solo exhibition of Schjerfbeck’s works to be held in the UK.  Schjerfbeck is considered one of the most famous and highly regarded artists in Finland and is known in Nordic countries and across mainland Europe, but is little known in the UK.

The exhibition features around 65 portraits, landscapes and still lifes and charts the artistic development of Schjerfbeck’s work from a more naturalistic style , to a more abstracted and modern approach from the turn of the twentieth century.

The exhibition is organised in five sections. Paris, Pont Aven and St Ives shows Schjerfbeck’s early works which demonstrate the influence of the naturalistic painting. The earliest work in the exhibition is Two Profiles, 1881, depicting Schjerfbeck’s lifelong friend and fellow painter Marianne Preindelsberger. There  are examples from her time spent in the artists’ colony of St Ives, Cornwall in the late 1880s. One of Schjerfbeck’s early successes was The Convalescent, 1888 exhibited at the Paris Salon.

The second section, Moments of Intimacy illustrates a change of emphasis with larger canvases capturing creating private moments like Maria, 1909. Schjerfbeck moved  back to Finland in 1896 and began teaching at the Finnish Art Society’s drawing school in Helsinki.  Schjerfbeck then moved with her mother to the rural town of Hyvinkää in 1902, where she used her mother as a model and her style began to evolve into a more modernist approach.

The central gallery features a series of Self-portraits from the age of 22 to 83, Schjerfbeck seemed to be fascinated by the process of aging and many of the self-portraits offer a opportunity to see the artist’s style changing from the more traditional naturalistic to  the more abstract ghostly and confrontational presence.

The section entitled the Modern Look features portraits of family, friends and models made between 1909 and 1944. Schjerfbeck was inspired by magazines and journals and many of the paintings are similar to magazine illustrations but based on real people. She often names the portrait as types rather than real people like The Skier (English Girl) 1909 which actually looks like a clown. As women’s roles began to change in society, Schjerfbeck seems fascinated with these changes and often referred to paintings from earlier centuries like Profile of Madonna after El Greco, 1943.

The exhibition concludes with Still Life, a group of pictures that perhaps senses the artist’s own mortality and uses nature to illustrate the process of life and decay, Three Pears on a Plate, 1945 is the final painting she ever made.

This fascinating exhibition introduces the work of Helene Schjerfbeck to a wider audience and offers the rare opportunity to view a large number of the artist’s work. Schjerfbeck is one of those artists that seem to operate in their own world and follow their intuitions rather than the fads and fashions of art. She was particularly interested in women and women’s role in society, her later paintings in particular seem to suggest that women were becoming asked to be various types rather than individuals. The paintings often blur the distinctive features of the portraits as if the person was losing their individuality.  Is this why her later self portraits seem so confrontational as if to say this is the ‘real me’ not a stereotype.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
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Exhibition Review- Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet at the Royal Academy from 30 June to 29 September 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Royal Academy of Arts presents a survey of paintings and prints by the Swiss artist Félix Vallotton (1865–1925). This will be the first exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK since 1976. Although the artist is admired in his native Switzerland, Vallotton remains relatively little known elsewhere.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition features around 100 works from public and private collections across Europe and the U.S and includes representations from every period of the artist’s career.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The first section of the exhibition presents a number of Vallotton’s work from the 1880s, following his arrival in Paris at the age of sixteen. Although he was influenced by contemporary movements such as Impressionism, the artist followed more closely artists of the Northern and Dutch traditions with works like his earliest known self-portrait, Self-portrait at the Age of Twenty, 1885 and the painting The Sick Girl, 1892.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Vallotton at this time had yet to find his own particular artistic style, however in the early 1890s he formed ties with the Nabis, a group of avant-garde artists including Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. It was around this time that Vallotton began to experiment with print making especially Japanese woodblock printing. These type of illustrations were very popular in newspapers and magazines and Vallotton made a steady income from magazine illustrations, he became the principal illustrator for the influential journal La Revue blanche.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Many of his prints were satirical, the series Intimités, 1897–98 and paintings of interior scenes, 1898–99, such as The Visit, 1899  exposes some of hypocrisies of the Parisian bourgeoisie.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

When La Revue blanche closed, Vallotton entered into marriage with a wealthy widow Gabrielle Rodrigues-Henriques in 1899 and concentrated on painting. His work from this time often featured psychological dramas in domestic interiors, the artist plays with perspective and lighting to create idea that behind the familiar lurks all kinds of dark secrets.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This theme is carried on from around 1904  when the female nude became Vallotton’s principal subject. This section of the exhibition presents works such as Nude Holding her Gown, 1904 and Models Resting, 1905. The nudes seem consumed by shame and unwilling to play the game of being alluring, this style was very different from other painters of the period.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Often the nudes are in pairs and look to be in conversation whilst in the background mirrors and reflections offer a dark background to the light foreground.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A section focuses on paintings and prints produced during the First World War, the artist’s initial enthusiasm for the war was changed by a visit to the trenches and his portfolio This is War!, 1916 features splattered red ink on the cover, while the six images, in black and white, capture the danger and terror of the ordinary soldier fighting at the front.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition concludes with a selection of Vallotton’s landscapes and still-life paintings. The landscapes like Sandbanks on the Loire, 1923 have a surreal quality with limited colour and simple compositions.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating exhibition offers a rare opportunity to discover the often original and innovative work of Felix Vallotton, this often overlooked artist provides a very different perspective of Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Vallotton indicates with his work that it is a city that underneath its bonhomie harbours dark secrets. This psychological interplay plays a major part in Vallotton’s later works especially his nudes series. It is possible that the artist’s painting and prints were a little too close to the mark for the wealthy patrons from the Parisian bourgeoisie which exposed many of their less pleasing qualities. This may be part of the reason, why his work was not highly valued at the time and why it is only in recent years that his originality and innovation have been more widely recognised.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review: Summer Exhibition 2019 at the Royal Academy from 10 June to 12 August 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is one of the great English Art traditions, it is the world’s oldest open-submission exhibition being established in 1768 whose long line of exhibitors reads like a Who’s Who of British Art. Some of the earliest exhibitors included the likes of Reynolds, Constable and Turner, however the exhibition prides itself that it offers a snapshot of contemporary art.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This year, the Royal Academy celebrates its 251st Summer Exhibition and acclaimed British painter, Jock McFadyen has been awarded the role of co-ordinator. McFadyen with the Summer Exhibition Committee have tried to create a show that builds a unique platform for artists at all stages of their career to present recent work.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The artwork begins before you enter the building  with artist Thomas Houseago  showing  a group of large-scale sculptural works in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard next to Academy’s statue of Joshua Reynolds, which has stood in the courtyard since 1931.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Visitors enter the exhibition through the Central Hall which features a ‘menagerie’ of animals of all shapes and sizes including Polar Bear by Shira Zelwer, D.F.W.T.W 2 by Ron Arad and Easy Tiger – Mach Brothers by David Mach.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Against the wall is Keep Ou by Banksy, this features a custom arch salvaged from Heathrow airport with a small painting at the bottom.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Spencer de Grey RA curates the Architecture Gallery, which explores the theme of sustainability. Many notable architects have summitted models and prints including Lord Foster, Arup, Lord Rogers and Sir Nicholas Grimshaw.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Part of the fun is walking around the exhibition and spotting work by established artists, work that particularly caught my eye were Lily and Quaye by Ishbel Myerscough, We are all Immigrant Scum by Jeremy Deller and A Kind of Blue by Allen Jones.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Other artists exhibiting in this year’s Summer Exhibition include Tracey Emin , Gary Hume , David Nash , Wolfgang Tillmans and Anselm Kiefer. The celebrated German filmmaker and photographer Wim Wenders has taken over the free McAulay Gallery, with a series of panoramic photographs.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Each room offers a kaleidoscope of colour and images in a range of media, from painting, printmaking, film and photography to sculpture, architectural works and performance art.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Summer Exhibition offers a platform for emerging and established artists and architects to showcase their work in front of a large international audience. The Summer Exhibition also plays a practical role in training young artists, it raises funds to finance the current students of the RA Schools. The RA Schools is the longest established art school in the UK and offers the only free three-year postgraduate programme in Europe.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show which has taken place every year without interruption since 1769. Works from all over the world are judged on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang in the galleries. This year the Royal Academy received over 16,000 entries with around 1200 works going on display.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating exhibition has a large number of wonderfully eclectic works on display, there is really something for everyone regardless of your particular artistic taste. The Summer Exhibition is one of the highlights of the art world’s summer and attracts a wide range of visitors. It also offers a rare opportunity to buy works from well-known and not so well-known artists with prices ranging from a few hundred to over a hundred thousand pounds.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
here

Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet at the Royal Academy from 30 June to 29 September 2019

In June 2019, the Royal Academy of Arts will present a survey of paintings and prints by the Swiss artist Félix Vallotton (1865–1925). This will be the first exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK since 1976. Greatly admired in his native Switzerland, Vallotton remains relatively little known elsewhere. The exhibition will serve as a rare opportunity to discover the highly original and innovative work of this often overlooked artist.

Comprising around 100 works from public and private collections across Europe and the U.S., the exhibition will demonstrate the intensity of Vallotton’s unique vision by bringing together outstanding examples from every period of the artist’s career.

The exhibition will be organised in thematic sections. The first will present Vallotton’s work from the 1880s, following his arrival in Paris at the age of sixteen. He avoided the contemporary movements such as Impressionism and turned instead to artists of the Northern and Dutch traditions with works like his earliest known self-portrait, Self-portrait at the Age of Twenty, 1885 (Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne) and the linear clarity of the painting The Sick Girl, 1892 (Kunsthaus, Zürich).

The second section will bring together work from a period of radical development for Vallotton. In the early 1890s he formed ties with the Nabis, a group of avant-garde artists including Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Like them, Vallotton was an attentive observer of contemporary life in Paris, though his unsparing caricatural illustrations and satires of Parisian society set him apart.

Vallotton distinguished himself as one of the great printmakers of his age. Magazine illustrations provided a stable income for the artist and La Revue blanche was a ready vehicle for his prints. Simple in design and bold in their use of black, his woodcuts provide sharply reductive imagery, owing in part to Japanese woodblock printing. Technically daring and bitingly satirical, the series Intimités, 1897–98, best articulates the artist’s unvarnished voyeurism and his exploration of the subtle power struggles and hypocrisies of the Parisian bourgeoisie. These are themes that are echoed in the celebrated paintings of interior scenes, 1898–99, such as The Visit, 1899 (Kunsthaus, Zürich), a masterpiece of enigmatic narrative.

The closing of La Revue blanche coincided with Vallotton’s marriage to the wealthy widow Gabrielle Rodrigues-Henriques in 1899, bringing with it a new financial security that allowed him to concentrate on painting. His early claustrophobic, psychologically charged interiors open up to light-filled rooms of well-appointed apartments, and the synthetic style of the prints is replaced with a broad, painterly realism.

From around 1904 onwards, the female nude became Vallotton’s principal subject. This section of the exhibition will present works such as Nude Holding her Gown, 1904 (Private Collection) and Models Resting, 1905, (Kunst Museum Winterthur). Here the subjects are depicted in a distinctive, hard-edged style, indebted to artists of the Northern tradition such as Cranach and, again, Ingres in the classical coolness and smooth surfaces.

A section will focus on paintings and prints produced during the First World War, an event that profoundly affected the artist. The cover of his portfolio This is War!, 1916 (Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva), Vallotton’s last series of woodcuts, features splattered red ink on the cover, while the six images, in strongly contrasting blacks and whites, capture the danger and terror of the ordinary soldier fighting at the front.

The exhibition will conclude with a survey of Vallotton’s landscapes and still-life paintings. This selection includes the artist’s remarkable paysages composés, landscapes based more on memory and imagination than composed from real life observation.

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
here

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019 from 10 June to 12 August 2019

Acclaimed British painter, Jock McFadyen has been awarded the role of co-ordinator of the 251st Summer Exhibition. McFadyen with the Summer Exhibition Committee intends to build a unique platform for artists at all stages of their career to present recent work.

Highlights within the Main Galleries will include a ‘menagerie’ in the Central Hall curated by Jock McFadyen RA, with works by artists including Polly Morgan, Charles Avery and Mat Collishaw.,Jane and Louise Wilson RA will organise two gallery spaces, one of which will showcase light and time based work. Spencer de Grey RA will curate the Architecture Gallery, which will explore the theme of sustainability.

The celebrated artist Thomas Houseago will show a group of large-scale sculptural works in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard that respond to the Academy’s statue of Joshua Reynolds, which has stood in the courtyard since 1931. This will be the first time that the courtyard will be dedicated to an artist that is not a Royal Academician as part of the Summer Exhibition.

Further artists exhibiting in this year’s Summer Exhibition include Jeremy Deller and Marcus Harvey alongside Royal Academicians such as Tracey Emin RA, Gary Hume RA, David Nash RA, Wolfgang Tillmans RA and Honorary Royal Academicians, Anselm Kiefer and James Turrell. The celebrated German filmmaker and photographer Wim Wenders Hon RA will be taking over the free McAulay Gallery, with a series of panoramic photographs.

The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show which has taken place every year without interruption since 1769. The members of the Summer Exhibition Committee serve in rotation, ensuring that every year the exhibition has a distinctive character, with each Royal Academician responsible for a particular gallery space. Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang in the galleries. This year the Royal Academy received over 16,000 entries. Around 1200 works, in a range of media, will go on display, the majority of which will be for sale offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original work. A significant part of funds raised continue to contribute to financing the postgraduate students at the RA Schools.

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
here

RA Festival of Ideas at the Royal Academy from 2nd to 6th May 2019

The RA Festival of Ideas returns to the Royal Academy of Arts which brings together a variety of fascinating people in art, literature, film, design, dance and music for five days of discussion, debate and creative thinking in the Royal Academy’s Benjamin West Lecture Theatre.

The festival is rooted in the Royal Academy’s heritage of rigorous debate and will explore culture, creativity and critical thinking through a series of interviews, conversations and panel discussions, as well as classes in the RA’s historic Life Room.

Thursday 2 May

Grayson Perry RA, one of Britain’s best-known contemporary artists, talks art, sex and creativity with psychotherapist Philippa Perry. Chaired by Tim Marlow, Artistic Director, Royal Academy of Arts. Accompanied by British Sign Language interpretation. (7pm)

Friday 3 May

Award-winning director Ken Loach talks to writer and critic Francine Stock about his 50-year career in film and the reactions his work has provoked, particularly in Britain. (12:30pm)

World renowned designer Sir Paul Smith discusses how the world constantly inspires him, leading him to look for ideas in everything from the mundane to the extraordinary. (2.30pm)

Recently appointed Artistic Director of the Young Vic theatre, Kwame Kwei-Armah talks to writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton about his lifelong passion for theatre and the joys and challenges of opening it up to wider audiences. (6.30pm)

Having composed his first song at the age of 9, Neil Tennant, the singing half of Pet Shop Boys speaks to BBC Radio 4 presenter John Wilson about pop, poetry and the art of song writing. (8.30pm)

Saturday 4 May

In Rewriting the past: Sarah Dunant and Kate Mosse, two of the UK’s best-selling historical novelists, talk to the writer and broadcaster Alex Clark about their different approaches to exploring the past, and what the genre can reveal that eludes historians. Accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation. (1.30pm)

Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the RA Schools, Life drawing at the RA invites participants to follow in the footsteps of generations of artists in a life drawing class in the RA’s historic Life Room, led by an expert tutor. (2.30pm)

Posy Simmonds, one of the UK’s most famous female cartoonist, reveals her penchant for difficult and dangerous women and why she loves poking fun at the middle classes. In conversation with journalist Claire Armitstead. (3.30pm)

The Turner prize nominated artists, identical twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson RA discuss their fascination with politics, surveillance and conflict and the challenges of working together. Chaired by the Artistic Director of the RA, Tim Marlow. (5.30pm)

Sunday 5 May

In a provocative lecture entitled How the education system is crushing creativity, author, poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen argues that the education system is strangling the arts. Accompanied by British Sign Language and Stagetext interpretation. (12.30pm)

The British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, author of The Bastard of Istanbul and Three Daughters of Eve, talks to BBC presenter Razia Iqbal about gender, politics and identity in her work. (2.30pm)

Future of Feminism: Yomi Adegoke, Laura Bates, Candice Carty-Williams and Natalie Hayne presents a panel discussion with four leading feminists looking at what it means to be a woman in 2019, the era of Trump and #MeToo, and how they see the future of feminism. Chaired by the author and broadcaster Bidisha. (4.30pm)

Monday 6 May

Poet, playwright, broadcaster and educator Lemn Sissay MBE talks to writer and critic Alex Clark about how poetry saved his life and why language has the power to transform society. (11am)

Clio Barnard, the award-winning film maker behind The Arbor, talks to writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet about the social and political inspiration behind her work. (1pm)

Hofesh Shechter, the internationally-acclaimed dancer, choreographer and composer, reflects on how it feels to be an artist in a highly politicised world, with writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton. (3pm)

Having made seven films about lesser-known artists for the BBC, Michael Palin, the award-winning actor, writer, comedian and presenter speaks to broadcaster Martha Kearney about falling in love with painting and why he thinks it works so well on the small screen. (5.30pm)

Family Events

Friday 3 May

Dame Jacqueline Wilson, one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors, reveals the secrets behind creating her most memorable characters and why she’ll never stop writing, in conversation with BBC Arts Correspondent Rebecca Jones. (4.30pm)

Saturday 4 May

In The art of children’s illustration, talented storytellers and illustrators Cressida Cowell and Chris Riddell discuss the art of marrying words and pictures and treat audiences to live drawing on stage. (11am)

In the workshop How to train your dragon, audiences are invited to draw real life chameleons, geckos and bearded dragon lizards, inspired by the fantastical worlds of Chris Riddell and Cressida Cowell, led by Wild Life Drawing. (12.30pm and 3.15pm)

Sunday 5 May

In Designing a best-selling children’s book, author, illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and designer David Mackintosh reveal how they go about forming their popular creations. (10.30am)

A Family illustration workshop explores the art of illustration, as visitors learn about the techniques of Lauren Child and David Mackintosh, the team who bring Charlie and Lola to life, led by illustrator and educator Julie Vermeille. (12pm and 2.30pm)

Monday 6 May

Professional comic book artist Kev F. Sutherland, who writes and draws for The Beano, Doctor Who and Marvel comics, leads a Comic Art Masterclass, where participants can make a comic of their own (10am and 1.30pm)

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review: The Renaissance Nude at the Royal Academy from 3 March to 2 June 2019

The Royal Academy of Arts present a new exhibition entitled The Renaissance Nude which explores how nudes have been used in some of the world’s most renowned masterpieces. The Renaissance Nude exhibition features around 90 works in a variety of media including paintings, sculptures as well as drawings, prints and illuminated manuscripts from different regions of Europe.

The exhibition examines the emergence of the nude visual tradition and how it changed the character and values of European art. The exhibition feature works by artists including Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossaert, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.

Although nude sculptures have been common since ancient times, nude paintings have a less obvious history. Religious organisations in particular were keen that nudes should inspire belief and not titillate the congregation. The Renaissance Nude exhibition examines art made in North and Southern Europe and considers some of the contrasts between the two approaches.

The exhibition is organised around five main themes, The Nude and Christian Art focuses on episodes from the Old and New Testament. Humanism and the Expansion of Secular Themes is devoted to mythological stories and classical art. Artistic Theory and Practice explores life drawing and the study of anatomy and proportion. Beyond the Ideal Nude looks at the vulnerability of the human condition. The final section, Personalising the Nude highlights the role of Renaissance patrons.

Even though, the exhibition covers a relatively short period between 1400 and 1530, it quickly becomes apparent that the idea of the ‘Renaissance Nude’ is a little misleading. Many people would consider Titian’s Venus Rising from the Sea (‘Venus Anadyomene’), c. 1520 as representative of this view, however the exhibition provides evidence that nudes were much more diverse and often reflected ideas of beauty within a particular cultural group.

Albrecht Dürer’s engraving Adam and Eve, 1504, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion, c. 1526 and Jan Gossaert’s Hercules and Deianira, 1517 offers a more medieval view of the nude. The remarkable Jean Bourdichon’s Bathsheba Bathing take from the Hours of Louis XII, 1498/99 illustrates that even in sacred texts, visions of womanly beauty could be included.

It was probably in the depiction of mythological stories and classical art, that the nude was used most extensively and experimentally. Agnolo Bronzino’s Saint Sebastian, c. 1533, Jan Gossaert, Christ on the Cold Stone, c. 1530 and Pietro Perugino, Apollo and Daphnis, c. 1495 offer unusual depictions.

There were a number of artists who wished to go beyond the surfaces both literary and emotionally, the exhibition includes some of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings and drawings by Raphael and Michelangelo.

This intriguing exhibition gives viewers the opportunity to see the Renaissance Nude in a different light. As the nude became an increasingly dominant role in the visual arts, it was used in a variety of sacred and secular contexts. Whether used in small, intimate objects to large decorative projects that filled church interiors and palaces, the Renaissance Nude led to a series of developments that led to new ideas of humanity and the human form.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy 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.
To find out more visit the website
here