Review: Love in art

The usual blockbuster events gain all the attention for the National Gallery of Victoria, and like cosmic detritus around a black hole, all are pulled by way of its gravitational attraction. And this is no bad thing, so go see Vincent van Gogh and the Four Seasons if you can.

Reflecting on art

What these starry-eyed fans may miss out on though, is the low-key free to view exhibits, such as Love: Art of Emotion – 1400- 1800.  It closes in a couple of weeks, and having spent a while there, I do recommend it. And not just as an escape from the VvG cluster, although it does represent a welcome contrast.

Detail from my favourite painting of the exhibit.

For further details on some of the themes and works, download this handy PDF. I won’t repeat what the gallery itself says about its exhibit, because why?

We dance round in a ring & suppose, but the art sits in the middle & knows

It’s a truism that rearranging art creates the possibility for new perspectives. This is literal in a physical sense but it’s not just about grouping art differently across new rooms. It is also about the rooms themselves. The air of mystery around some pieces in this exhibit is certainly heightened by the black matt painted walls, making the pieces as context-less as possible. While the rooms and corridors seem to fold in on themselves, presenting unique views and angles around each corner.

What you see & what’s revealed.

Meanwhile, items in glass enclosed cases hold their own allure, reflecting, as they do the pictures around them, at the same time presenting the likes of mourning rings, and sculptures.

In need of snarky comment or context.

All this basks in yellow-gold lighting making for a warm, mellow contrast to the walls, so some pieces seem to glow and draw attention, while others wait to be discovered or stumbled across unexpectedly.

Ceiling of the great hall in the temple to art (NGV).

It almost doesn’t matter the theme for this exhibit. It offers a respite filled with ceramics, books, and instruments, paintings and glass. Amongst the rush of the city, or the crowds in busier galleries, this space offers a sea of tranquillity and repose. I suppose all galleries are looked upon this way in some measure. Perhaps, with its spacious main hall, with the magnificently vivid ceiling creating almost a cathedral space, the NGV is considered a refuge more than most.

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