Angelica Kauffman is at the Royal Academy of Art London

Self portrait of Sir Joshua Reynolds

In March 2024, the Royal Academy of Arts is set to unveil a remarkable tribute to Angelica Kauffman, one of the most distinguished artists of the 18th century and a founding member of the Academy itself. The exhibition aims to celebrate the rich tapestry of Kauffman’s life and works, guiding the visitor through the journey of her prolific career—from her early recognition as a child prodigy to becoming one of Europe’s most sought-after painters.

Kauffman’s oeuvre is a testament to her versatility, with a portfolio that boasts history paintings, portraits, and her remarkable self-portraits. Each of the over 30 artworks on display, including many that have never graced the UK before, offers a glimpse into her journey across Europe and her ultimate rise to fame. These pieces collectively narrate a story of exceptional talent, determination, and how Kauffman carved out a space for herself in a predominantly male industry during the 18th century.

As attendees navigate through the four distinct sections of the exhibit, they will encounter Kauffman’s self-portraits that artfully placed her identity under her own control—a bold statement for a woman of her time. The exhibition will also delve into her training in Rome, her celebrated arrival in London where she was “Angelicamad,” and her poignant works that often depicted female protagonists.

Further exploring her relationship with the Royal Academy, the show will shed light on her influence amidst the gender constraints of her era, highlighted by Zoffany’s portrayal of Kauffman and Moser in “The Academicians of the Royal Academy.” By featuring her later works from Rome, where her studio became a cultural haven, the exhibition not only honours Kauffman’s legacy but also sets to inspire by displaying the resolve of an artist who thrived against the odds, forever marking her place in the annals of art history.

Angelica Kauffman
1 March – 30 June 2024
10am–6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays
10am-9pm, Fridays