Love is all around at the National Gallery of Victoria


“La Toilette de Venus” 1815, Jean-Baptiste Regnault (oil on canvas)

There’s a new exhibition at the NGV, Love: Art of Emotion. It’s all there in love’s many manifestations: romance (of course), the anticipation, desire, seduction, tenderness, pleasures of the flesh, narcissism and – Shakespeare’s favourite – martyrdom. That Goddess of Love, Venus, and her cheeky boy, Cupid, are ever-present, spreading their message from toilette preparation to dancing putti.

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Photos: Antony and Cleopatra – Gianmaria Mosca (after), 16thC marble; The Singer Farinelli and friends (detail) – Jacopo Amigoni, c.1750-52, oil on canvas; Lordly Elevation – James Gillray, 1802, hand-coloured etching and aquatint; Dancing Putti – Girolamo Campagna, c.1605-07, bronze.

The exhibition is compiled from the NGV’s permanent collection, over 200 paintings, sculptures, drawings and print works, as well as jewelry, costumes and furniture from this European Medieval to the Romantic period. Some works are story-telling, others biblical, mythological, allegorical, historical.

As always, it is exquisitely curated by the NGV. Enjoyable and educational, Love: Art of Emotion is on until 18 June 2017.    The catalogue is worth purchasing for your book collection.

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Photos: The Artist at Work – Elizabeth Louise
Vigée le Brun, 1830, miniature watercolour and gouache on ivory; Sora Mavera dish, 1530-50 earthenware; Madonna dell’Umilità (Madonna of Humility) – probably Ferrara, C.1470 Painted wood; exhibition catalogue.

Love: Art of Emotion exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and The University of Melbourne.


© all works National Gallery of Victoria (photos by tPRo/Pamela Reid 2017).