Bridget Riley creates painting for the ceiling of the British School at Rome

Bridget Riley creates painting for the ceiling of the British School at Rome

The latest work by one of the world’s most celebrated artists, Bridget Riley, a painted ceiling for the British School at Rome (BSR), will be unveiled on 4 May 2023.

Bridget Riley has created many murals and wall paintings but this is her first ceiling painting. The large-scale work will be installed in the foyer of the BSR, covering four barrel vaults of the ceiling and using her ‘Egyptian palette’. 

Bridget Riley has strong ties with the BSR, including an exhibition of her work which was presented at the BSR in 1996. More recently, since 2016 she has endowed The Bridget Riley Fellowship, which provides an opportunity for a young painter to spend six months at the BSR to develop their work.

For 100 years, world-class researchers and contemporary artists have been nurtured at the BSR, Britain’s leading fine arts and humanities research institute abroad. Founded in 1901, it is based in the Edwin Lutyens-designed British Pavilion created for the International Exhibition of 1911, and is located immediately adjacent to the Villa Borghese gardens and Italy’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna.

Since its foundation in 1901, the BSR has brought together established leaders and rising stars of the academic and fine arts worlds to research and develop their work in its exceptional, multidisciplinary community. Its alumni are an impressive list of critically acclaimed artists, architects and scholars including Gillian Ayres, Cornelia Parker, Chantal Joffe, Julian Opie, Laure Prouvost, Bob & Roberta Smith, Mark Wallinger, Alison Wilding, Cerith Wyn Evans, David Abulafia, Mary Beard, Nicholas Cullinan, Penelope Curtis, Nicholas Purcell, Bob Allies and Will Alsop.

Bridget Riley, Artist, said: “I would like to thank the British School at Rome for its invitation to paint the vaulting barrels of Edwin Lutyens’ beautiful ceiling. It was the beginning of an exhilarating visual chase. Exhilarating but not without hazard. Through many pleasurable challenges, encouraged by Mark Getty’s enthusiasm, I pursued this perceptual adventure and played my ‘colour acoustics’ with great delight. Looking up, the colour of the skies offers a glimpse of nature in her most promising and serene mood.”

Mark Getty, Chair of the BSR Council, said: “We are thrilled that Bridget Riley has developed, executed, and given this wall painting to the BSR. It will adorn our entrance for decades to come, and pronounce clearly the strong relationship which exists between British and Commonwealth artists and thinkers, and the Roman and Italian world.”

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Bridget Riley in her studio with designs for the ceiling at the BSR. Photograph by Vivien Lovell. Courtesy of the British School at Rome

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