Did you see these? 10 top features of 2016
By Sandra MacKenzie
Published on 19 December 2016
Did you find out which Abstract Expressionist you are? Did you see Antony Gormley's best advice for becoming an artist? Catch up now, in some of our most popular articles and videos of 2016.
Our Abstract Expressionism show is the first major UK exhibition on the movement in almost 60 years, and many of our visitors have left with a new favourite artist. Many of those who visited us online, meanwhile, have also come away with a new kindred spirit. If you don't know yours yet, take the quiz and let's see which of these big-talking, whisky-supping, rule-breaking painters you're most like.
Our Painting the Modern Garden exhibition examined the creative relationship between artist and garden, bringing stunning depictions of irises, roses and, of course, water-lilies to Burlington House. Inspired by Monet's beautiful gardens at Giverny, we picked out 11 more gardens around the world lovingly cultivated by artists, from Barbara Hepworth's sculpture garden on the Cornish coast, to a Japanese island dedicated exclusively to modern art. See how many you've been to.
This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.
Zaha Hadid's sudden death in March 2016 shocked and saddened the world of art and architecture. In her 65 years, the visionary architect became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, as well as the RIBA Gold Medal, and left behind buildings including The London Aquatics Centre, for which she's perhaps best known in this country, and the astonishing Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre in Azerbaijan, pictured below. Here, Kate Goodwin, Alan Stanton RA and Sir Peter Cook RA paid tribute to Hadid, who was "larger than life, bold as brass and certainly on the case. Our Heroine."
Sculptor Antony Gormley RA kicked off our new series, As I see it, in which artists reflect on art, life and lessons learnt in their own words. Covering everything from art school to his own tech addictions and Brexit, Gormley provides both inspiring advice and words of caution for the future.
If people can sense the intensity of your will to do things that matter they will help you. That’s my best advice.
Actor and comedian Barry Humphries has been friends with David Hockney since the '70s, when they met at the legendary Studio 54 nightclub in New York. Here, Humphries describes the experience of being captured in paint by his long-time friend. The resulting work came to the RA as part of David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life.
To celebrate International Women's Day, we gave ten leading women in the art world a platform to reflect on the state of gender equality in 2016. Milestones such as the Tate's appointment of its first female director and the RA's election of eight female Royal Academicians provided room for optimism, but statistics comparing male and female representation in solo shows and auction prices reveal we still have a way to go.
Set in the golden age of the Venetian Renaissance, In the Age of Giorgione was a show imbued with mystery. Very little is known about Giorgione, and one painting poses a particular debate that still rages today – who painted the Giustiniani Portrait? Was it indeed Giorgione, to whom we attributed it in the show, or was it the young, up-and-coming Titian? With art historians unable to agree, we shared two arguments and then turned the question over to you. Read both arguments and cast your vote.
Anne Desmet is one of only three engravers to have been elected as a Royal Academician in the RA's 248-year history. In the first of a new series revealing the process of a leading artist's work from start to finish, Desmet demonstrates the centuries-old techniques behind wood engraving, showing step-by-step how she creates her intricately detailed artworks.
Our Spring architecture display, Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture, celebrated six centuries of innovative British architects, from Smythson to Hadid. We offered a quick run-down of these 12 boundary-busting architects – see who else made the cut.
This snappy series of videos offers a whistle-stop introduction to five of Abstract Expressionism's key players: Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell and Jackson Pollock. Presented by Tim Marlow, the RA's Artistic Director, with a sneak peek inside this blockbuster show in each video, we think it's well worth a minute of your day.