One of this writer’s favourite places in Melbourne has to be the National Gallery of Victoria in the Southbank area just over the Yarra River from the CBD. Although the Gallery was founded in 1861 and is the oldest public gallery in Australia, it retains the ‘National’ as part of the name, because it was established 40 years before the Commonwealth of Australia came into being. This writer’s love of visiting the gallery began when she visited soon after the opening of the new building with its suspended Leonard French stained glass ceiling and beautiful water-wall entrance. Visitors are not discouraged from lying on the floor!
Update: Latest exhibition, starting 28th April 2017 is Van Gogh and the Seasons, the NGV’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces for 2017. The exhibition runs until 9th July.
General entry to the gallery is free and the gallery is currently showing We’ll see how all reverberates, an interactive dynamic suspended installation in which visitors are welcome to play the thirty-five copper Zildjian cymbals making up the three delicately balanced mobiles by Mexican artist Carlos Amorales. The link above will take you to the gallery so you can see what’s currently on show.
The ABC has a video to whet your appetite. It’s not yet on YouTube, so you’ll have to open the link for now. Worth seeing. The exhibition is on until 8th November 2015.
Another exhibition currently running until 8th November is the Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great, a collection of over 400 pieces from the Empress’s personal collection during her reign from 1762 to 1796.
This exhibition follows A Golden Age of China which ran in the three months to 21st June, of the collection of the Qianlong Emperor, during his sixty year reign 1736–1795. If you have seen this exhibition in the NGV, the Palace Museum in Taipei or at its home in The Palace Museum in Beijing, you will see a distinct connection between the quality and style of the two collections.
If you just want to wander around the gallery, the gallery has a wonderful collection of artworks from artists of the Heidelberg School who were influenced by the Impressionism movement in Europe, but gave their paintings a uniquely Australian flavour. Many Australians have grown up with copies of these paintings on their school walls, including Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer, painted in 1904 and Tom Roberts’ Shearing the Rams from 1890.
Click on our link for more of What’s On.
- The gallery is Open 10am–5pm, extended to seven days a week from October 2015.
- Open on Anzac Day (25th April) between 1 and 5pm.
- On Tuesdays, only Ground level exhibitions are open.
- The gallery is closed on Good Friday & Christmas Day.
How to get there
The Gallery is a pleasant walk of 10-15 minutes across the Princes Bridge over the Yarra River if you are coming from Flinders St Station or the Ian Potter Centre (another part of the NGV located in Federation Square).
Alternatively you can catch public transport including an iconic Melbourne tram. It may also be a good idea to buy a Myki smartcard if you will be in the city for a few days which allows you to move easily between trains, trams and buses as they no longer carry conductors.
You can also purchase tickets online for the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle which services the various tourist areas in the city.