Bill Viola / Michelangelo: Life Death Rebirth

Royal Academy of Arts

26 January – 31 March 2019

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The RA's first exhibition largely devoted to video art brings together the work of pioneering video artist Bill Viola with drawings by Michelangelo.

Bill Viola, Fire Woman, 2005

Though working five centuries apart and in radically different media, Viola and Michelangelo share a deep preoccupation with the nature of human experience and existence.

The exhibition creates an artistic exchange between these two artists and is a unique opportunity to see major works from Viola’s long career and some of the greatest drawings by Michelangelo together for the first time.

Featured are 12 major video installations by Viola from 1977 to 2013 shown alongside 15 works by Michelangelo. These include 14 highly finished drawings, considered to be the high point of Renaissance drawing, as well as the marble relief The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist (c1504-05), known as 'Taddei Tondo'.

The exhibition proposes a dialogue between the two artists, considering Viola as an heir to a long tradition of spiritual and affective art, which makes use of emotion as a means of connecting viewers with its subject matter.

It also aims to recapture the spiritual and emotional core of Michelangelo beyond the awesome grandeur of his works.

Venue information

Opening times

Mon – Thu, Sat – Sun, 10am – 6pm Fri, 10am – 10pm Closed 23 Jun, 24 – 26 Dec

Please visit for special late openings:

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