are an independent fine arts institution which supports
contemporary artists and promotes interest in the arts through
a comprehensive and ambitious exhibition programme. Our
education work, and the RA Schools, ensure that the skills and
knowledge of today's most talented artists are passed on to
the next generation.
The Royal Academy is completely
autonomous, politically independent and self-funding. We are
supported by private sponsorship. Our Friends organisation -
the third largest in the world - numbers more than 85,000
The Royal Academy is governed
by the Royal Academicians, who are all eminent practising
painters, printmakers, sculptors and architects. There are 80
Academicians, who are elected to one of the following
categories: painting, sculpture and architecture. Membership
is open to any artist who is professionally active in the
We are the only organisation
with such a long and prestigious history as a centre of
artistic excellence in the United Kingdom. We have been at the
heart of cultural life since our foundation in 1768, with Sir
Joshua Reynolds as our first President.
Our famous Summer Exhibition is
a hugely popular show of contemporary art held every year
since 1769. We are also renowned for our many major loan
exhibitions, which are acclaimed both here and abroad.
Today our exhibitions attract
more than a million people each year, putting the Royal
Academy among the top ten attractions for paying visitors in
London. 'Monet in the 20th Century', which ran from January to
April 1999, attracted over 800,000 visitors, making it the
most successful Impressionist exhibition in the world, and the
most highly attended exhibition in Britain of any kind.
Our home is Burlington House, a
magnificent listed building in the West End of London.