National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria

While Australia's oldest public art gallery The National Gallery of Victoria undergoes a program of redevelopment, a temporary gallery is located at 285-321 Russell Street. The magnificently restored 19th century galleries at Russell Street house over 700 key works from the NGV's permanent collection. The National Gallery of Victoria on Russell marks the Gallery's return to its original home, which it occupied from 1861 until the move to the Roy Ground's designed building in St Kilda Road in 1968.

The National Gallery of Victoria International Art will open in 2002 at the St Kilda Road site and will offer improved display spaces, conservation and collection storage systems for the NGV's collection of International Art.

The redevelopment program will result in the opening, in early 2001, of the National Gallery of Victoria Australian Art at Federation Square, which will include display space for the contemporary art and major temporary exhibitions drawing on the NGV's collection of Australian Art.

Address: 
Cnr Russel Street and little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, VIC
Tel: 
0392080222
Hours: 
10am to 5pm daily
Admission: 
Free, some charges for special exhibitions
Facilities: 
Wheelchair access, shop, library, guided tours, restaurant, education programs, lecture theatre.
Collection: 
The National Gallery of Victoria's collection encompasses all major media from antiquity through to contemporary art. The Gallery's collection provides a framework of the history of world art as well as a survey of the finest works of indigenous and non-indigenous artists.
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Items

Pencil, wash, charcoal solution

Figures in Possum Skin Cloaks

Figures in Possum Skin Cloaks
Creator:
William Barak
Description:
William Barak recorded the ceremonial attire of the Wurundjeri people in Figures in possum skin cloaks 1898.
Date:
1824-1903
Item Id Number:
1215a-5

MEASUREMENTS: 57.0 x 88.8cm PROVENANCE: Purchased 1962.

Oil on canvas

Collins St., 5 p.m.

Collins St., 5 p.m.
Creator:
John Brack
Description:
John Brack’s iconic work, Collins St. 5p.m. depicts the city dweller. Subdued in the face of suburban monotony, his figures march dutifully through the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street, Melbourne, at the close of the working day. John Brack created a number of unforgettable images based on the rituals of suburban life Five O’Clock Collins St (now in the Gallery collection) is a major example.
Date:
1955
Item Id Number:
3302-4

MEASUREMENTS: 114.8 x 162.8cm PROVENANCE: purchased 1956

Oil on wood

Two Old Men Disputing (Peter and Paul)

Two Old Men Disputing (Peter and Paul)
Creator:
Rembrandt van Rijn
Description:
Two Old Men Disputing, one of the greatest and most moving paintings in the whole of the collection, was bought for the Felton Bequest by the just-retired director of the Gallery and Art School, Bernard Hall, in 1934. Before that date, The Two Philosophers was regarded as a lost painting, known only from an eighteenth century engraving. It is a very early work, dated 1628, and with its dark interior, dramatic cross-lighting, forceful gaze of one of the sages, extinguished candle and carefully arranged furniture reveals the young Rembrandt’s taste for the Italian Caravaggesque fashion.
Date:
1628
Item Id Number:
349-4

MEASUREMENTS: 72.4 x 59.7cm. PROVENANCE: Felton Bequest, 1936

Oil on wood

Triptych with the Miracles of Christ

Triptych with the Miracles of Christ
Creator:
Flemish (Unknown)
Date:
1470-1495
Item Id Number:
1247-3

Medieval workshop practice often meant that several artists were responsible for larger projects. A striking example of the outcome of this is the Flemish Triptych with the Miracles of Christ which has been attributed to at least four different hands believed to be either members of Rogier van der Weyden’s workshop or a continuation of this in Brussels. The Triptych was purchased from the widow of the nineteenth-century British art patron and collector, Lord Leyland, for the Felton Bequest in 1922. Thematically and iconographically the work holds great interest. Historians have identified several members of the House of Burgundy including Philip the Good amongst those witnessing the Miracles of Christ, although these portraits are not now thought to be connected with the original donation of the Triptych. MEASUREMENTS: 172.4 x 184cm. PROVENANCE: Felton Bequest, 1922

Oil on Canvas

The Banquet of Cleopatra

The Banquet of Cleopatra
Creator:
Giambattista Tiepolo
Description:
The story represented in this painting is drawn from Pliny's "Natural History" (Book IX, ch. LVIII)
Date:
1743-44
Item Id Number:
103-4

In 1932 the oil painting The Banquet of Cleopatra painted in 1743-45, was offered for sale in England by the bankrupt Russian government anxious for foreign currency. The provenance of the work from Tiepolo’s studio to the collection of Catherine the Great of Russia has been carefully charted by Dr Ursula Hoff and the painting was acquired on the advice of Randall Davies for the Felton Bequest in 1932 a spectacular addition to the largely British-based collection then being formed in Melbourne.

Tiepolo made a number of drawings and oil sketches and at least one known oil painting, the Melbourne Banquet of Cleopatra, on this theme, which he derived from Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, Book IX, Chapter LVII.

Pliny relates that the two largest pearls in history were owned by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. She was made a wager that she would spend 10 000 000 sesterces (a fortune) on a single banquet. The painting depicts the wager at its high point of tension when, seated at the table between Antony and adjudicator Lucius Plancus, she has removed one of the pearls from her ear and is about to drop it into a goblet of vinegar, which will dissolve it. The story is told disapprovingly by Pliny, as an instance of unacceptable luxury. But Tiepolo has painted it as a magnificent gesture, splendidly set. The colouring is high and delicate and Tiepolo’s mastery of illusionistic space, his delight in exotic detail with the dwarf, the Nubian pages, the animals as accessories Antony’s greyhound and Cleopatra’s miniature with the picaresque spectators, all revel in the spectacle. MEASUREMENTS: 250.3 x 357.0cm. PROVENANCE: Felton Bequest, 1933