Royal Academy of Arts of London

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A grand collection of arts can be found in this wonderful gallery in London, England.

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Royal Academy of Arts

An exihibition in the museum @ The English Home

Britain’s oldest society devoted to fine arts was founded in 1768 and moved to Burlington House exactly a century later. The collection contains drawings, paintings, architectural designs, photographs and sculptures by past and present academicians such as Joshua Reynolds, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, David Hockney and Norman Foster.

Highlights of the permanent collection are displayed in the John Madejski Fine Rooms on the 1st floor, accessible by free guided tours only. Displays change regularly.

The rooms themselves are a treat; it was in the Reynolds Room on the 1st floor, for instance, that Charles Darwin first presented his ground-breaking ideas on evolutionary biology to the Linnean Society, which is still based here.

The famous Summer Exhibition, which has showcased contemporary art for sale by unknown and established artists for 250 years, is the RA’s biggest annual event.

Burlington House’s courtyard features a stone-paved piazza with choreographed lights and fountains arranged to display the astrological star chart of Joshua Reynolds, the RA first president, on the day he was born. His statue stands in the center. The courtyard is also the venue for temporarily installed statues and outdoor works by contemporary artists.

The academy has now expanded magnificently into 6 Burlington Gardens behind the museum, which will provide more space in which to exhibit its permanent collection. There is also a new Clore Learning Centre for young people and a 260-seat lecture theatre. At present, it’s not possible to access Burlington Gardens directly from Burlington House.

Additional information

Amazing structure @ Arch Daily

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London. It has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects; its purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment, and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education, and debate.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded through a personal act of King George III on 10 December 1768 with a mission to promote the arts of design in Britain through education and exhibition. The motive in founding the Academy was twofold: to raise the professional status of the artist by establishing a sound system of training and expert judgment in the arts, and to arrange the exhibition of contemporary works of art attaining an appropriate standard of excellence. Supporters wanted to foster a national school of art and to encourage appreciation and interest among the public based on recognized canons of good taste.

Fashionable taste in 18th-century Britain was based on continental and traditional art forms, providing contemporary British artists little opportunity to sell their works. From 1746 the Foundling Hospital, through the efforts of William Hogarth, provided an early venue for contemporary artists in Britain. The success of this venture led to the formation of the Society of Artists of Great Britain and the Free Society of Artists. Both these groups were primarily exhibiting societies; their initial success was marred by internal factions among the artists. The combined vision of education and exhibition to establish a national school of art set the Royal Academy apart from the other exhibiting societies. It provided the foundation upon which the Royal Academy came to dominate the art scene of the 18th and 19th centuries, supplanting the earlier art societies.

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