Royal Academy of Arts

views updated May 18 2018

Royal Academy of Arts (London). In 1768 the artist Benjamin West, with the architect William Chambers, approached George III for his approval of a national academy to foster a school of art, set standards of good taste, and provide for the free exhibition of works of excellence. The first president was Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose famous Discourses, delivered over a period of 20 years, laid down the basic concepts of the academy which was to form ‘a repository for the great examples of the Art’, an important function before the establishment of the National Gallery in 1824. During the 19th cent. the academy was slow to accept innovation and its reputation declined. Since the mid-20th cent., policy has been more liberal and the annual summer exhibition a popular event, although whether it fulfils the function of exhibiting the best contemporary work is open to question.

June Cochrane

Royal Academy of Arts

views updated May 29 2018

Royal Academy of Arts (RA) British national academy of the arts, founded by George III in 1768, and based in London. Members aim to raise the status of the arts by establishing high standards of training and organizing annual summer exhibitions. The first president was Sir Joshua Reynolds.

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Royal Academy of Arts

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