Bill Viola / Michelangelo Life Death Rebirth

Front cover image

Martin Clayton with Kira Perov

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Royal Academy of Arts
Territory: World excluding USA & Canada
Size: 260 mm x 230 mm
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 140 colour

RRP £35.00

  • A selection of key works by the American video artist Bill Viola are presented alongside Michelangelo's drawings - revealing surprising parallels
  • Accompanies an exhibition presenting both artists' works at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, from 26 January to 31 March 2019

At first glance, there may appear to be more to separate Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Bill Viola (b. 1951) than to unite them: one, the great master of the Italian Renaissance; the other, the creator of state-of-the-art immersive sound and video installations. And yet, when Martin Clayton showed Viola Her Majesty The Queen's unsurpassed collection of Michelangelo drawings at Windsor in 2006, parallels began to emerge.

This book presents a new perspective on both artists' works. Stills and sequences from ten key video pieces by Viola are reproduced alongside fourteen of Michelangelo's presentation drawings, as well as the Taddei Tondo, the only Michelangelo marble sculpture in the UK and a treasure of the Royal Academy's collection. Texts by Martin Clayton examine how existential concerns - the preoccupation of many Renaissance artists, not least Michelangelo - are explored in Viola's often profoundly moving video installations, while Kira Perov provides insight into Viola's working processes.

Martin Clayton is the Head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust. Kira Perov is Bill Viola's partner and executive director of Bill Viola Studio. She manages, creatively guides and assists with the production of all his videotapes and installations, and curates exhibitions of his works worldwide.

Below images, left to right:
Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John ('The Taddei Tondo'), c. 1504-05. Marble relief, diameter 106.8 cm. Bequeathed by Sir George Beaumont, 1830. © Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Limited
Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ (Warwick Pietà), 1530-35. Black chalk on paper, 28.1 x 26.8 cm. The British Museum, London © The Trustees of the British Museum
Bill Viola, Nantes Triptych, 1992. Video/sound installation. Courtesy Bill Viola Studio; Photo: Kira Pirov
Bill Viola, Tristan's Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall), 2005. Video/sound installation. Performer: John Hay. Courtesy Bill Viola Studio; Photo: Kira Pirov

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