Flowing Lines of Grace

Drawing Drapery in the Late Nineteenth Century

26 July — 7 October 2016

Book now Become a Friend

The classical revival in British art and sculpture during the second half of the nineteenth century fuelled the widespread fascination for all things antique.

For Frederic Lord Leighton PRA (1830–1896), Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema RA (1836–1912) and George Frederic Watts RA (1817–1904), the drapery of classical Greek sculpture represented an aesthetic and physical ideal. In numerous studies of drapery, they strove to emulate the style, folds and forms of their sculptural counterparts; these drawings played a crucial part in the artistic process of creating paintings that abounded with scenes from mythology and the imagined daily life of ancient Greece and Rome.

Featuring drawings, engravings and contemporary publications from the RA’s Historic Book collection, this display explores the influence of classical drapery on these artists’ work and the ways in which it was perceived to represent the epitome of beauty.

26 July — 7 October 2016

Tuesday – Friday
10am – 1pm and 2 – 5pm

RA Library Print Room

Complimentary entry with a valid Royal Academy exhibition ticket or £3 General Admission ticket. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.

Book now