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FREE

The Making of an Artist: The Great Tradition

Collection Gallery, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

1 Jan — 31 Dec 2022

Does great art begin with studying nature, or studying the great art of the past? Decide for yourself in this gallery, bringing together highlights from the RA Collection.

Please note:

You must book a free ticket to visit.
Visitors are required to wear a face covering inside the RA. Find out more about visiting safely.

What makes great art? Our first President, Sir Joshua Reynolds, believed that the art of the past was an important source of inspiration.

In his Discourses on Art, he encouraged aspiring artists in the RA Schools to: “Study the works of the great masters, for ever. […] Study nature attentively, but always with those masters in your company; consider them as your models which you are to imitate, and at the same time as rivals with whom you are to contend.”

The Making of an Artist: The Great Tradition presents work by leading early Academicians, together with many of the RA’s examples of earlier art, including Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo, an almost full-size sixteenth-century copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper and casts of key classical sculptures, notably the Belvedere Torso.

1 January 2021 — 31 December 2022

Tues–Sun: 10am–6pm

Admission free but booking is required (book your ticket here. Your free ticket gives you access to all our free displays, shops and cafés.

Collection Gallery, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

Book now