The Curious Eye

RSA Friends Room & Library 


Artists are naturally curious and, in all cultures since cave painting, curiosity about the natural world has been a springing point for the creative imagination. ‘Truth to Nature’ was one of Durer’s driving principles, and many Renaissance artists were in the fore front of new discoveries. Artists such as Pisanello explored the intimate forms of insects, birds and animals with a passion for understanding.


The artists of China and other eastern civilisations studied nature perhaps more to discover and contemplate beauty. Ruskin believed that studying nature led to a true sense of proportion in aesthetic judgement.


Today’s artists continue to look to nature for inspiration, studying form and colour in all the natural world has to show them. The shifting colours of bird’s feathers, the delicate carapaces and exoskeletons of the invertebrate world, the shapes and textures of shells and stones, the changing light upon a landscape, a seascape, a section of sky….


Selected by John Busby The Curious Eye  is a group show of RSA members and invited artists whose work looks to nature for inspiration. Hosted in the RSA Library and the Friends Coffee Room, the paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, sketchbooks and texts, including works from the Collection of the RSA, come together to give us an intimate glimpse through the curious eye of the artist.


RSA members include:

Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, John Busby, Alfons Bytautus, Alex Campbell, Victoria Crowe, George Donald, Stuart Duffin, Richard Demarco, James Fairgrieve, Ronald Forbes, Alexander Fraser, John Houston, Eileen Lawrence, Marian Leven, David Michie, Glen Onwin, Frances Pelly, Frank Pottinger, Keith Rand, Philip Reeves, Sylvia Wishart, Denis Peploe, James Cumming and Patrick Syme.