The Language of Line: John Flaxman’s illustrations to the works of Homer and Aeschylus
27 July—29 October 2010
In the Library Print Room
This year marks the 200th anniversary of John Flaxman's appointment as the first Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy. Although recognised as one of the leading sculptors of his day, it was Flaxman’s talent as a draughtsman that won him international acclaim. His dynamic yet understated outline illustrations to the works of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus and Dante were an immediate success when published as engravings and proved highly influential for generations of artists.
John Flaxman RA, Lampetia complaining to Apollo, 1792-1793. Pen and ink with pencil on paper. © Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographer J. Hammond
The display features a selection of Flaxman’s drawings for the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Tragedies of Aeschylus. The works reveal delicate modifications to the designs that offer insight into the artist’s creative process prior to the production of the engraved plates. Flaxman’s experimentations with pose and composition are resolved into an archetypal style of linear clarity in the engravings, highlighting the practice underpinning his ability to convey dramatic, emotive and even comic effect with a single line.
Tuesday–Friday, 10am–1pm and 2–5pm
(Closed Saturday – Monday)
Free curator's talk
Tuesday 5 October
3.30pm in the Library Print Room, next to the Sackler Galleries
No booking necessary
- Further works by Flaxman are currently on show in Life, Action and Sentiment: John Flaxman on the art of modern sculpture at the Strang Print Room, University College London. Read more here