Melbourne Winter Masterpieces have been bringing some fantastic international exhibitions to brighten Melbourne’s winters since 2004. This year the National Gallery of Victoria is hosting Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great, which features over 400 selected pieces from the collection of one of the world’s largest, oldest and most-visited museums in the world, the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
This exhibition has been described as the greatest exhibition the Hermitage has undertaken abroad and it is part of their 250 anniversary celebrations. I got a sneak peek today at the media preview. Melbourne, you’re in for a treat!
The works on show at the NGV include paintings from masters such as Velasquez, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian and Van Dyk to drawings, decorative arts, Catherine’s personal effects and paintings from the prized Walpole collection, all bought and collected by Catherine over 3 decades as a patron and innovator of the arts in the 18th century.
It was through the collection of these works and Catherine the Great’s exceptional vision that the Hermitage was founded.
While the big names will no doubt be the drawcards, my favourite moments in the whole exhibition included…
Francesco Francia’s drawing of Sacrifice with Bacchus, with its lush textures and detail achieved with only brown ink and a pen….
…the intense blue of the Sevres porcelain in the Cameo Service commissioned by Catherine and…
…the detail in the mirror of the thirty-two piece Chinese toilet service which was a wedding gift to Catherine.
The exhibition design is also notable, with lush hues, architectural details and antique furniture inspired by the grandeur of the Hermitage’s rooms.
I particularly loved the parquetry flooring and the Chinese wallpaper, which covered even the electrical switches!
Make time to watch the immersive video that transports you to wintery Russia and takes you inside the through the gallery.
The exhibition is not just about admiring excellent pieces of Western Art. Mikhail Dedinkin, the Deputy Head of the Department of Western European Art at the State Hermitage Museum, described it best ‘The Hermitage helps people find their own history and contains some of the greatest examples of the genius of mankind. The collection spans all centuries, all countries and all countries under one roof.’
Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great is an opportunity to see but a part of the Hermitage’s grand collection right on our doorstep. Don’t miss it!
Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Friday 31 July – Sunday 8 November 2015 10am-5pm
Tickets on sale from ngv.vic.gov.au
Adult $26 | Concession $22.50 | Child $10 |
Family (2 adults, 3 children) $65