Picture Gallery: Genius and Ambition – the Royal Academy of Arts, London

The Royal Academy of Arts in London recently hosted a show of Australian art and now it’s Australia’s turn to host the august British institution. A show of 100 works from the Royal Academy’s collection is coming to Bendigo in regional Victoria, two hours north west of Melbourne. The reception to the show will probably be warmer than how the Australian art show was received by British critics late last year. But then the works coming to Australia include some of the biggest names in Western art from the 18th century on including J. M. W. Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, John Singer Sargent, Henry Fuseli, John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London 1768-1918 continues the Bendigo Art Gallery’s growing profile as a presenter of the kind of blockbuster shows you’d expect to see at our major state galleries. Shows in recent years have included The Golden Age of Couture and Grace Kelly: Style Icon.

 Bendigo Art Gallery director Karen Quinlan has worked with the Royal Academy to develop the show exclusively for Bendigo. The exhibition reveals the riches of the institution which since 1768 was considered the mecca for the study and display of art in Great Britain and Europe until about a 100 years ago. Australian artists who showed at the Academy include Nicholas Chevalier, Tom Roberts, John Longstaff, Rupert Bunny, Arthur Streeton, E Phillips Fox, Margaret Preston, Agnes Goodsir and William Dobell, and their works are included in the exhibition of paintings, sculpture to works on paper and historic books which also borrows from Australian state galleries.

Charles West Cope,  The Council of the Royal Academy selecting pictures for the exhibition
Charles West Cope,
The Council of the Royal Academy selecting pictures for the exhibition
Sir Edwin Landseer, The Faithful Hound
Sir Edwin Landseer,
The Faithful Hound
Sir John Everett Millais, A Souvenir of Velazquez
Sir John Everett Millais,
A Souvenir of Velazquez
Clarkson Stanfield, On the Scheldt near Leiskenshoeck: A Squally Day
Clarkson Stanfield,
On the Scheldt near Leiskenshoeck: A Squally Day
George Lambert, Self portrait with gladioli
George Lambert,
Self portrait with gladioli
John William Waterhouse, A mermaid
John William Waterhouse,
A mermaid
Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London 1768-1918 is at the Bendigo Art Gallery from 2 March to 9 June. Tickets are available at bendigoartgallery.com.au

Featured image: Sir Joshua Reynolds, Theory Oil

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