Last Sunday, I decided to make a trip down to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) International at St Kilda Road, having heard so many wonderful things about it. What I experienced was truly inspiring, and I spent more than three hours wandering and exploring its fascinating and sprawling galleries occupying three storeys. The scale of this attraction rivalled that of the Melbourne Museum, another masterfully built museum.
Established back in 1861, NGV International is the oldest and most sizable public art gallery in Australia (and most probably the Southern Hemisphere). Located in the arts and leisure precinct in Southbank of Melbourne, it has a significant collection of about 63,000 artworks and artefacts. They include artworks from masters like Rembrandt, as well as ancient collections from Pre-Colombian America, Egypt, Rome and parts of Asia. The gallery has a sister museum – The Ian Potter Centre of NGV Australia at Federation Square – which focuses on Australian art. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to visit that but I’ll definitely make a date to patronise it soon.
The best thing about visiting NGV International? Admission is FREE and you can take photographs (without flash).
Vertical banners like this tell you what temporary exhibitions are currently running. In this case, it was an exhibition on the Bugatti brothers. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bugatti?
The most memorable moment for me was experiencing this piece of video art by the brilliant video artist Bill Viola. “Ocean with a shore” was both sad and mesmerising in its execution.
On the second level gallery, I chanced upon NGV’s Asian Art Collections which were closer to those I am familiar with back at home in the Asian Civilisations Museum. These Chinese porcelain pieces were intricately painted and beautiful.
I next ventured into the temporary exhibition on Animals in Asian Art, which seemed to have some parallels with ACM’s Fantastic Creatures. Both were geared towards kids.
19th century European works of art hailing from the Renaissance and Post Renaissance period featured in a couple of rooms. Most of the artists appeared to be English, which was interesting considering that the Renaissance was more closely associated with Italy.
Over at the gallery covering 17th Century Dutch and Flemish art, I chanced upon this artwork showing a bouquet of flowers. It had such detail that you could tell each individual species of flowers apart from each other.
Moving forward a few hundred years is a modern lifestyle exhibition called Remaking Fashion, which featured significant feminine frocks like this one from John Galliano from the house of Christian Dior.