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Title: Academic art and the twentieth century : the Royal Academy of Arts, 1910-1951
Author: Yordanov, Vassil
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 8129
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the art shown at the Royal Academy of Arts in London between 1910 and 1951. It attempts to demonstrate that this often neglected body of works was a highly prominent element of British visual culture of the time and was often seen to meet the social needs of the twentieth century. While most studies of this period concentrate on the modernist movements the Academy is equally deserving of attention: its annual Summer Exhibitions were the most popular shows of contemporary art and were widely reviewed in the press. This study explains why academic painting and sculpture were thought to be important phenomena and how they were perceived by their makers, the critics and gallerygoers. Academic art is examined by considering the aesthetic concepts and artistic genres that were most prominent in the critical discourses surrounding Burlington House. The first chapter explores the functions performed by naturalism, the artistic approach that was seen to define academic culture. The second chapter treats the importance of formalism, a concept that is now usually associated with modernism but played an equally important role at the Summer Exhibitions. The third chapter shows how and why landscape and portraiture became the dominant academic genres of the first half of the twentieth century and also explains the decline of narrative painting. The fourth chapter demonstrates that modernist art itself often engaged with the Academy, either by criticising it or by claiming it could perform some of its traditional functions. Academic art was still impossible to ignore in this period and this thesis attempts to show what scholars can learn from its continuing importance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available