Arts / Masterpieces launched in ‘ambitious’ exhibition

NGA Mitzevich with the Tatre’s Judith Nesbitt

THE National Gallery of Australia director Nick Mitzevich this morning unveiled the most ambitious exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces ever shown in Australia.

With seminal 19th century works of art from the Tate’s phenomenal collection and significant loans from private collections and institutions in Britain and Australasia, more than 100 works by 21 artists in “Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate” present a Canberra exclusive insight into the rebellious world of the ground-breaking art movement. The exhibition explores themes of love and desire, modern life, literature and romance, myth, portraiture and the “femme fatale”, with a glimpse into William Morris & Co’s impact on design.

The Tate has, for the first time, temporarily parted with its destination paintings, John Everett Millais’ “Ophelia” and John William Waterhouse’s “The Lady of Shalott”.

“Never before has a 19th century exhibition of this scale and calibre been seen in this country,” Mitzevich said.

Judith Nesbitt, director of National and International Partnerships at the Tate said: “The National Gallery has been exceedingly ambitious in its approach to this exhibition; it has constructed a compelling picture of this group of artists and done so by bringing together the most important examples of the period from more than a dozen institutions and private collections.”

The NGA has also planned a “Summer of Love” alfresco picnic on January 19, with television host and author Osher Gűnsberg.

Then, on February 8, Sarah Blasko will reimagine her “Songs of Love and Desire” in a one-off performance inside the exhibition space, and, on March 2, a wedding package giveaway will be presented to one lucky couple.

“Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate”, open to public December 14 until April 28. Booking to


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