The National Gallery of Australia is presenting an amazing exhibition featuring masterpieces from the National Gallery London. It comprises 61 portrait and landscape works spanning almost 500 years. Most of the well known masters are represented making it enormously impressive. Many of the works are famous which makes viewing them up close and personal a real treat. We’ve selected some of our favourites across the spectrum starting with Sandro Botticelli.
Any of Johannes Vemeer’s 34 existing works is a joy to see and ‘A young woman seated at a virginal‘ is certainly no exception.
Johannes Vermeer A young woman seated at a virginal c. 1670-72. oil on canvas © The National Gallery, London. Salting Bequest, 1910. Image: GRACIE
This captivating work by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo ‘The infant Saint John with the lamb‘ is very warm and tender. It was created to appeal to the Catholic viewer to encourage innocence and purity.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo ‘The infant Saint John with the lamb‘ c. 1660-65. oil on canvas © The National Gallery, London. Bought 1840. Images: GRACIE
An exhibition of this scope predictably includes a JMW Turner. ‘Ulysses deriding Polyphemus-Homer’s Odyssey’ was the choice. The changing colour and light is an unmistakable Turner hallmark. It simply glows.
JMW Turner ‘Ulysses deriding Polyphemus-Homer’s Odyssey’ 1829. oil on canvas © The National Gallery, London. Turner bequest 1856. Image: GRACIE
Rembrandt van Rijn’s ‘Self portrait at the age of 34′ is probably his best known self-portrait. He portrays himself as being rich and elegant. Master of the ‘selfie’ perhaps?
Rembrandt van Rijn ‘Self portrait at the age of 34’ 1640. oil on canvas
© The National Gallery, London. Bought 1861.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s eye for beauty never dimmed. We are completely drawn to this work that focuses on a young girl seated in the theatre, leaning forward with expectation. The entire effect is stunning.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir ‘La Premiere sorry [At the theatre] ‘ 1876-77. oil on canvas
© The National Gallery, London. Bought Courtauld Fund 1923.
Always captivating, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings. ‘The water-lily pond’ exhibited here is a gem among gems. The painting shows the bridge and background trees and the pond covered in vegetation and lilies. The wonderful use of colour and the discerning use of light make for this exquisite work.
Claude Monet ‘The water-lily pond’ 1889. oil on canvas
© The National Gallery, London. Bought 1927
We are indeed very lucky to have a travelling exhibition of this quality and magnitude visit Australia at a time when travelling overseas to visit the world’s leading galleries isn’t possible. If you have the time and resources, this is well worth a visit to Canberra to enjoy.
Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London is at the NGA Canberra until June 14.