A nude man from behind,c.1504-6. The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist
4 May – 7 October 2012
Friday sees the opening of a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that promises to be just as enthralling as the recent blockbuster at the National Gallery. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace brings together the largest ever show of the High Renaissance master’s drawings of the human body, displayed from Her Majesty’s unsurpassed collection of works on paper.
The Italian painter’s endeavours in anatomy were both artistic and scientific: he analysed the body in order to paint it in proportion and perspective, but also to uncover medical truths such as the circulation of blood. As Hugo Chapman explains in his preview for RA Magazine, the show ‘offers a tantalising sense of how medical knowledge might have been revolutionised’ had Leonardo’s anatomical work been published at the time.
Picasso Prints: The Vollard Suite
3 May – 2 September 2012
The 100 etchings of Picasso’s ‘Vollard Suite’ have been long celebrated as his finest works in the medium, so it is surprising that the British Museum’s presentation of the series – opening today – is the first time it has been show in a UK public gallery.
Pablo Picasso, 'Faun uncovering a sleeping woman'; plate 27 of the Vollard Suite. 12 June 1936. Etching and acquatint. Presented by the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust in memory of Major Horace Parker. ©Succession Picasso/DACS 2011
Executed in the 1930s, the suite takes its name from the Spanish artist’s dealer and print publisher Ambroise Vollard, and is characterised by its exploration of classical myths and sculpture. Norman Ackroyd RA gives his perspective on the suite as a contemporary printmaker in the forthcoming Summer edition of RA Magazine (published 25 May 2012).
Anne Desmet RA, 'Fragile Hope', 2012. Wood engravings on paper collaged onto 6 razor shells Olympic Metamorphoses: Works by Anne Desmet
4 – 27 May 2012
The PM Gallery’s studio space, in the 1940s extension to Pitzhanger Manor House in Ealing, presents from Friday collages and etchings of the Olympic Park by Royal Academician Anne Desmet.
The series reworks the birds-eye-view photographic images of the key sites with which we have become familiar. Desmet lives near the park and has seen its construction work develop first hand over a long period of time. The incorporation of material such as scraps of London A-Z maps reminds us of the effect Stratford's Olympic transformation on the neighbourhood’s streets. In Fragile Hope (2012), an overhead image of the Olympic stadium is torn into six strips and then reconstructed – an echo of the way the public has constructed its own aspirations for the Games and its legacy.
Philip Sutton RA, 'Strange and bright in Crete', 2011. Oil on canvas The Wonder of Philip Sutton
3 May – 3 June
The kaleidoscopic palette of painter Philip Sutton RA shows no signs of becoming subdued as the artist enters his 85th year. The colours in his most recent works, on view in his solo exhibition at London’s Richmond Hill Gallery from today, are defiantly un-naturalistic in their riot of intensity.
The most memorable images are his 2011 landscapes (in portrait orientation) of the coastline in Crete, like Dawn over the Mountains – the rocky hills overlooking the sea are bright red, the sky pink with yellow and blue clouds, a house in the foreground magenta. This Fauvism is taken to the extreme in Strange and Bright in Crete, in which psychedelic strata of clouds hover above what appears to be a shepherd tending his flock.
Broken Stones: Ruins and the Picturesque in Vintage Photography
Last chance: Until 5 May
Some of photography’s earliest pioneers, including Roger Fenton and Gustave Le Gray, repeatedly used their new-found medium to produce images of ruins. Saturday sees the end of a small show at London's James Hyman gallery that investigates this phenomenon.
Roger Fenton, 'General View of Balaklava', 1855. Salt print.
Frederick Scott Archer and James Anderson represent ruins of archaic and medieval sites, seizing the opportunity to capture for posterity structures under threat (Scott Archer’s now-antiquated collodion process created a particularly evocative print of Rochester Castle in 1851). Eugene Atget’s atmospheric images of fin de siècle Paris include a focus on buildings decayed by the ravages of time, while others, like Fenton in the Crimea, pictured towns and villages whose structures were decimated by war.
Sam Phillips is a London-based arts journalist and contributor to RA Magazine