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Citizens and Kings - Royal Academy of Arts (preview)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

A NEW EXHIBITION, Citizens and Kings: Portraits in the Age of Revolution, 1760 – 1830, will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts from February 3 to April 20, 2007.

Through sculpted and painted portraits, the exhibition will give an in-depth view of an era characterised by sweeping political and social changes.

The years 1760 – 1830 saw dramatic transformations in the world order as new ideas and wealth vied with the old order of absolute monarchies.

The exhibition, the first of its kind, will consist of 145 works by such great masters as Reynolds, David, Ingres, Goya, Lawrence, Delacroix, Canova and Thorvaldsen. Drawn from some of the world’s finest collections, they depict not only kings and queens but also the new revolutionary heroes and rising bourgeoisie, as well as enlightenment thinkers, writers and artists.

Each work has been carefully considered for the historical significance of the sitter and its aesthetic quality as well as the innovation in presentation adopted by the artist.

Citizens and Kings will be divided into 11 sections, based on theme and portrait type.

The first sub-theme will present formal and official portraits, opening with grand portraits of rulers adorned in coronation robes. Ensuing sections will display portraits of statesmen such as Benjamin Franklin, military men, and aristocrats such as the Countess of Bute and Madame d’Orvilliers.

The evolving nature of the cultural world will be underpinned through portraits of notable natural philosophers such as Hutton, as well as patrons, art collectors, commissioners of architecture and bibliophiles; while interplay and dialogue between sculpture and painting will be explored with self-portraits and portraits of artists, and feature work by Reynolds, Bendz, Thorvaldsen, Pigalle and Messerschmidt.

The next sub-theme will address specific portrait types, starting with works by Houdon, Hansen and Gerard depicting the family and children. Another portrait type, the revival of classical prototypes, and a taste for the Antique will be illustrated with works by Canova and Nollekens.

The penultimate sections will explore the allegorical portrait and figures in the landscape. And the final room will examine transformations in portraiture brought about by the aftermath of the fall of Napoleon, and the arrival of Romanticism and Realism.

Citizens and Kings is organised by the Reunion des Musees Nationaux and the Musee du Louvre, Paris; the Royal Academy of Arts, London; and the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Tickets:
£10 – full price.
£8 – Registered Disabled and over 60s.
£7 – NUS/ISIC cardholders.
£3 – 12 to 18 years and Income Support.
£2 – 8 to 11 years.
Free – under 7s.

Times:
Daily 10am to 6pm (last admission 5.30pm).
Late night – Friday until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

For more information, call 0870 848 8484 or visit the website.