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Michaelangelo meets pioneering video artist Bill Viola at the RA’s latest show

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Bill Viola: Nantes Triptych

What happens when you bring together a High Renaissance polymath and one of the 20th century’s pioneering video artists? A groundbreaking new show at London’s Royal Academy! Opening in January 2019, Life Death Rebirth will pair the Italian master’s drawings with 12 major installations by American artist Bill Viola in a show that the RA says “explore the same universal themes with works of transcendent beauty and raw emotional power.”

Running until 31 March, the show has been inspired by a visit Bill made to Windsor Castle — the actual castle, not the pub in Hackney — in 2006. “Astonished” by Michaelangelo’s drawings, he began thinking about how, although centuries apart, they both grappled with “life’s fundamental questions, asking us to consider the thresholds between birth, life and death.”

Billed as “as an immersive journey through the cycle of life,” Life Death Rebirth features the only Michelangelo marble sculpture in the UK and a “five-metre-high projection depicting the ascent of the soul after death,” by Bill entitled Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall).

It’ll likely be a serious and stirring start to your artistic new year.

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Michaelangelo: The Risen Christ,

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Michaelangelo: The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John,

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Bill Viola: Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall)