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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London

It includes Van Gogh’s 'Sunflowers' — and it's the largest batch of works to venture beyond the United Kingdom in the gallery's history.
By Sarah Ward
January 04, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
January 04, 2021
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Art galleries don't just showcase great works by renowned talents on their own walls. They also loan out their collections, touring them to other sites around the globe. That's great news for Australians, who've been able to check out pieces from London's Tate Britain and New York's Museum of Modern Art in recent years, all without leaving the country. In 2021, you'll also be able to feast your eyes on two big collections of European masterpieces from two different overseas institutions: from New York's The Met, which is heading to Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art, and from London's National Gallery, which'll take over the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

The latter, called Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London, will hit the Australian Capital Territory from March 5–June 14, 2021. If you were looking for a reason to take a local holiday interstate this year, the NGA has not just one but 60, because that's how many works this huge exhibition will feature.

The gallery isn't joking about the showcase's title, either. When you'll be exhibiting Van Gogh's Sunflowers, you can throw around the word 'masterpiece' as much as you like. Other high-profile works include Rembrandt's Self Portrait at the Age of 34, plus Vermeer's A Young Woman seated at a Virginal. And, artist-wise, Titian, Velázquez, Goya, Turner, Renoir, Cézanne, Botticelli, El Greco, Constable, Van Dyke, Gainsborough and Gauguin are all also on the bill.

Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers 1888, National Gallery, London, Image courtesy the National Gallery, London

When peering at the exhibition's pieces, art aficionados will be taken through seven important periods in Western European art history, from a range that spans 450 years. That means exploring work from the Italian Renaissance, checking out the Dutch painting of the Golden Age, and feasting your eyes on British portraiture — as well as scoping out pieces from the 17th- and 18th-century Grand Tour, Spanish art from the 17th century, works that focus on landscape and the picturesque, and examining the birth of modern art.

When Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London hits our shores, it'll mark a big milestone, too — as the largest batch of works to venture beyond the United Kingdom in National Gallery's 192-year history.

Announcing the exhibition, National Gallery of Australia Director Nick Mitzevich mentioned exactly what you're probably now thinking — that is, that the showcase is a nifty way to see the world in a period when we can't venture far physically. "At a time when Australian audiences are unable to travel overseas, we are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors to Canberra to see this exclusive showcase of world-class art," he said.

Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London exhibits at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra from March 5–June 14, 2021, with tickets on sale now.

Top images: Installation view, Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers, The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London; installation view, Anthony van Dyck, Lady Elizabeth Thimbelby and Dorothy, Viscountess, The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London; installation view, Giovanni Giralomo Savoldo, Mary Magdalene (far left), The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London.

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