Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces From the National Gallery, London
Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces From the National Gallery, London is a glorious journey spanning 500 years of European painting.
The 61 works would usually be on permanent display in London’s National Gallery but were available for tour because it’s being renovated. This is the first time in the NGL’s near 200-year history it has toured an exhibition of works internationally.
The show is arranged into seven defining periods, including the Italian Renaissance, Dutch painting of the Golden Age, landscape and the picturesque and, of course, France and the rise of modern art. Wander from Botticelli’s Four Scenes From the Early Life of Saint Zenobius, almost four paintings in one, to Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait at the Age of 34 (1640) to Johannes Vermeer’s A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (1670).
With only 34 acknowledged works to his name, Vermeer’s diminutive painting shows why he is one of the most revered 17th-century Dutch painters.
Then there are the Spanish greats – Giordano, El Greco, Velázquez and “an extraordinary de Goya”, The Duke of Wellington – before the exhibition moves into landscapes and the rise of modern art, where new technologies of portable paint tubes enabled an adventurousness of colour.
The final room is an overwhelming experience. There’s Degas’s Ballet Dancers, Renoir’s At the Theatre (1876–77), a Monet, Pissarro, Gauguin and not one but two Cézannes. Finally we are before Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, one of the most loved and visited paintings in the world.
Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces From the National Gallery, London has an exclusive Canberra season at the National Gallery of Australia, March 5 to June 14. Tickets include entry to Know My Name, Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now.