We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Bill Viola / Michelangelo

Life Death Rebirth

26 January — 31 March 2019

This exhibition is now closed

See upcoming exhibitions

★★★★

"Heavyweights past and present battle mortality at the Royal Academy"

Evening Standard

★★★★★

"An early contender for exhibition of the year"

The Londonist

"Bill Viola is one of the few living figures who could square up to Michelangelo"

The Sunday Telegraph

"The work is a reminder that our inner worlds may be timeless but our outer ones are always changing"

Financial Times

This exhibition pairs Bill Viola’s powerful installations with rarely-seen drawings by Michelangelo. Journey through the cycle of life in our immersive and unparalleled show.

Michelangelo is best known for the Sistine Chapel and for his large sculptures. Yet his smaller, more intimate drawings take us closer to the spiritual and emotional power of his work. They were created for his private use, or as gifts of love, and would soon become known as “drawings the likes of which was never seen”.

In 2006, the pioneering video artist Bill Viola saw a collection of these works at Windsor Castle. He was moved by their ability to convey fundamental human experiences and emotions, and by Michelangelo’s use of the body to give shape to spirituality.

Viola’s large-scale video installations are likewise works of profound emotional impact. They combine sound and moving image to create absorbing works which slow us down and invite us to experience and reflect. These works are shown alongside Michelangelo drawings, which are on display in the UK for the first time in almost a decade.

This exhibition – created in close collaboration with Bill Viola Studio – is a unique opportunity to experience two artists, born centuries apart, in a new light.

All ticket prices include £2.50 for a printed gallery guide.

Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in partnership with Royal Collection Trust and with the collaboration of Bill Viola Studio.

Please note 
Some works in this exhibition have flashing lights, and others contain nudity. Please ask a member of staff for more information.

26 January — 31 March 2019

Daily 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm

£20 (without donation £18). Concessions available. Under-16s go free with a fee-paying adult. Free for Friends of the RA with no booking required.

Main Galleries, Burlington House, Piccadilly