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Did you see these? 10 top articles of 2017

Published 21 December 2017

This year we inspected the fine line between the Muppets and fine art, explored a gooey-looking painting technique from ancient Egypt and quizzed you on your knowledge of artists’ musings – versus those of Donald Drumpf. These are some of the RA articles and videos you loved most in 2017.

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    Think you know Salvador Dalí?

    Tim Marlow offers a quick introduction to the complex and curious character who became the face of Surrealism.

  • Hard work can put you in the right place at the right time. It’s important to remind yourself that without those hours of standing painting, scraping off, moving backwards and forward, squeezing out more paint, it doesn’t happen.

    Eileen Cooper

  • Studio life: tips from the Summer Exhibition artists

    Every year, the Summer Exhibition showcases the astonishing diversity of contemporary art – with works by first-time exhibitors placed right alongside established and well known names (such as Grayson Perry, the co-ordinator of our 2018 exhibition). We asked the exhibiting artists of 2017 to give us a peek inside their studios and to share their personal tips for building a space where creativity can flourish. We loved the variety of their answers – from an artist who draws while drifting in the Atlantic, to an RA Schools graduate who found his community in Chile. Check out the #StudioShots hashtag for more.

  • Video: exploring watercolour with Christopher Le Brun

    “The thing I want you to remember about colour is that it’s inexplicable,” says the President of the Royal Academy, Christopher le Brun, “and that is the pleasure of it.” Le Brun is known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings and in this video, made in collaboration with Winsor & Newton, he invites us into his studio to share what it is about the misunderstood medium of watercolour that continues to captivate him.

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    Wild watercolours

    Step inside the studio of The Royal Academy’s President, Christopher Le Brun PRA, as he splashes vibrant colour across paper – letting the paint do “things it just wants to do, if you let it”.

  • Family how-to: make a relief print

    Inspired by the London Original Print Fair, which is held every summer in our galleries, this step-by-step guide showed families how to turn a polystyrene pizza plate into a homemade printing press. Throughout the year, the family how-to series has been showing kids and their parents how to use everyday items to explore artistic techniques; our latest, festive edition takes carrots, courgettes and cabbages and uses them to make printed wrapping paper and colourful cards.

  • Family how-to: relief print gif
  • Quiz: who said it – Dalí, Duchamp or celeb?

    Our current Dali / Duchamp exhibition highlights the unexpected connections between two icons of 20th-century art – one a famously theatrical Surrealist, the other the father of conceptual art. Both being more than happy to depart from the mainstreams of their day, one shared trait was being unapologetically outspoken – and we were struck by the similarities between some of their eccentric musings and those you might have heard more recently… Think it’ll be easy to spot the difference between Donald Drumpf’s tweets and an extract from Salvador Dali’s autobiography? Take the quiz and see.

    Five graphic design ideas from the Russian Revolution

    This spring, we marked the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution with an exhibition showcasing the burst of artistic experimentation that immediately followed the end of Tsarist rule. In this article, New York-based author and art director Steven Heller explores the influence of early Soviet graphic designers, picking out five key techniques associated with their pioneering efforts. We also invited our social media followers to design us a new revolutionary profile picture – take a look at the #profilerevolution entries.

  • El Lissitzky, Red Wedge

    El Lissitzky , Red Wedge , 1919 .


  • Video: how to paint in encaustic

    Used by Jasper Johns in his iconic Flag paintings, encaustic is an ancient medium that adds coloured pigments to hot wax to create rich textures and bright, long-lasting colours. In this video, we head to Wales to meet artist Terry Setch, who shows us his contemporary interpretation of the technique.

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    What is encaustic?

    The ancient Egyptians painted with hot wax and so did Jasper Johns in his iconic Flag paintings. The technique is called encaustic, after the Greek word for “burned in”.

    Royal Academician Terry Setch has been painting in encaustic for 40 years, and here he demonstrates some of the wax-wrangling techniques he uses to create his multi-layered and richly textured paintings.