We were fortunate enough to have an exhibition of some of the works of Vincent Van Gogh come to the NGV this year, which has made me expedite my post on my visit to the museum that is dedicated to his works – the main reason being that I really can’t write a post about the exhibition at the NGV (the National Gallery of Victoria, which in my opinion is by far the best art gallery in Australia) without first writing a post about my experience at the titular museum in Amsterdam. The problem was that you aren’t actually allowed to take photos in the museum, the main reason being that because he is such a popular artist the museum is going to be crowded and if everybody were to stop to take photos of the paintings then it is basically going to ruin it for everybody. Fortunately the museum actually have posted all of their paintings on the web, so even though I left my notebook in my bag, I am fortunate enough to be able to simply go to their website and use that, as well as the notes I made on my mobile phone, as inspiration for this post.
We basically left off with the Netherlands at war with the Spanish and many of the artists fleeing to the North from what is now Belgium, bringing their styles and skills with them. Initially, this was a form known as mannerism, which focused on the raw beauty of the subject, in an idealised setting. However, in Italy, Caravaggio was starting to make his mark, with a much more realistic feel to his paintings, a more down to Earth, grittier style. As such, this began to filter north to start influencing the Dutch, resulting in a change in style and a movement away from Mannerism.
Look, I’m probably not going to suggest that this is the largest art gallery in Australia, but it is certainly larger than the Art Gallery of New South Wales (or at least has a much larger collection) and this is only the international collection (I believe the Australian art is located elsewhere). The other thing that stands out is that the NGV is not a traditional art gallery.
There is a certain building in Sydney that everybody visits, usually so they can get a photo of themselves standing in front of it, and even though I had an appointment at that particular building during my stay in Sydney, since it is an Australian icon I feel that I would simply be wasting my time saying anything about it because, well, everybody knows about it anyway. So, instead of going to that building, I decided that I would go and pay a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art.