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Historic art legacy in Melbourne

13 Aug 2015

Historic art legacy in Melbourne Image

By Kara Bertoncini

As part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is showcasing spectacular works in its latest exhibition "Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great".

This exhibition is one of the world’s greatest art collections, as it features more than 450 works by artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Velázquez and Van Dyck.

The Australian-exclusive exhibition holds personal treasures from Catherine the Great’s own collection that now reside in The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says this is an incredible opportunity for visitors from all over the world to experience a world treasure.

“Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great showcases treasures from one of the largest, oldest and most-visited museums in the world,” he said.

“Another major event for Melbourne, this exhibition provides visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see first-hand the extraordinary personal collection of Catherine the Great, drawn from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.”

The Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley added that this was another success for Melbourne’s renowned cultural empire, and was a triumph for all Victorians.

“Masterpieces from the Hermitage brings together two of the world’s most acclaimed cultural institutions – the Hermitage and our NGV. It’s a major win for Victoria,” he said.

The exhibition itself is a transformative experience for visitors as it unveils the architectural details, interior furnishings and colours inspired by the Hermitage’s gallery spaces.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood said Masterpieces from the Hermitage was a celebration of fine art aimed at educating generations of art lovers.

“This exhibition celebrates the tenacity and vision of a true innovator in the arts. Catherine the Great’s inexhaustible passion for the arts, education and culture heralded a renaissance, leading to the formation of one of the world’s greatest museums,” he said.

Following record-breaking attendance in the 2014-15 financial year, the NGV will now be open seven days a week from October 2015 for the first time since 2005.

Mr Foley says this is a testament to the NGV’s ability to attract and inspire audiences of all ages.

“This means more Victorians and visitors from elsewhere will have a chance to experience its exquisite collection, exhibition program and extensive free program,” he said.

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great is now showing daily until November 8 with a variety of associated programs for visitors of all ages.

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