THE National Gallery of Australia has announced the postponement to early 2021 of its planned November blockbuster, “Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London”.
Even so, gallery staff point out, it will be one of the first major international exhibitions in the Southern Hemisphere following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exclusive to Canberra, the exhibition will now open on March 5 next year. It will include works of art by 57 of Europe’s most celebrated artists and will span 500 years, from the 15th century to the turn of the 20th century.
NGA director Nick Mitzevich describes the gallery as “delighted” to have been able to secure the new dates, particularly thanking the director of the London collecting institution, Gabriele Finaldi.
The largest group of works to ever travel outside of the United Kingdom in the National Gallery’s 192-year history, “Botticelli to Van Gogh” includes highlights such as Rembrandt’s “Self-portrait at the age of 34” from 1640, Vermeer’s “A young woman seated at a virginal”, c1670 and Van Gogh’s much-loved “Sunflowers”, 1888.
“’Sunflowers’ has only been lent outside the British capital on two occasions since its acquisition by the National Gallery, London, in 1924 and now audiences will be able to see it in Canberra,” Mitzevich says, adding that “Botticelli to Van Gogh” would enable people to see the London collection up close and particularly when the ability to travel outside Australia was limited.
The exhibition, facilitated by Art Exhibitions Australia, will feature 60 paintings by 57 artists including Botticelli, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, Turner, Constable, Van Dyke, Gainsborough, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin and van Gogh.
Dr Finaldi says: “This is the largest group of works to travel outside the United Kingdom in our history, so this is an unprecedented opportunity to share the breadth of our collection and expertise with Australian visitors.”
“Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London”, March 5 to June 14, 2021. Booking swill open on December 1. More information here