Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Royal Academy of Art

I'm fascinated by the illustrious history of the Royal Academy of Art, and seeing exhibitions there is always a pleasure. I've been wanting to draw the outside of the building for a while now, so last week I made time to stop by and sketch it on a fiercely sunny day.

The Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly

The Summer Exhibition is on at the moment, and the choices for display are always interesting, and often provokes debate about what should and shouldn't be called contemporary art. Don't get me started on that subject! But the story of one year when the RA rejected a sculpture but accepted and displayed the plinth it came with, believing it to be a separate work of art always makes me chuckle.
The Summer Exhibition has been held every year since 1769, the year after they were founded. The Royal Academy weren't always at Burlington House however. For a number of years they were based in Somerset House, where the Courtauld Institute is now housed.

Somerset House courtyard looking North

Eventually, they moved to share lodgings with another great London art institution, in the newly built National Gallery, in 1837, and then, as both continued to expand, moved to the present site 30 years after this.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
This last sketch was done while it was raining and quickly became the most uncomfortable location drawing I've done - I thought I'd found a sheltered spot on the steps of St Martins In the Fields, but as it rained harder my sketchbook was getting soaked, and I was desperately trying to finish as quickly as possible, one hand drawing, one hand holding the book, another hand balancing a broken umbrella...wait, I didn't have that many hands... which is probably why I got very wet, and cramp. I gave up and did the ink wash at home.


1 comment:

  1. Nice one Nathan - in terms of both topic and sketches

    I've tried sketching in the rain with one hand on a umbrella and it isn't easy!


All comments are moderated and consequently may take a little time to appear. Spam and anonymous comments are not published.