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Canberra Today 7°/11° | Monday, May 16, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

National Gallery treats itself to a birthday painting

Jeffrey Smart, “Near Knossos,” 1973, NGA, acquired 2022

THE National Gallery of Australia has acquired Jeffrey Smart’s 1973 painting, “Near Knossos” in celebration of the gallery’s upcoming 40th anniversary.

Now on display in the exhibition “Jeffrey Smart”, the painting shows Smart’s meticulous and realistic painting style. “Near Knossos” depicts a single male figure upon a rooftop who stares out towards the viewer, surveying two buses that pass by each other in the foreground.

Although the subjects of “Near Knossos” are drawn from the real, modern world, gallery curators say there is an underpinning tension, and the combination of elements appears strange and even uncanny.

Smart relocated permanently to Posticcia Nuova, Tuscany, in 1971, where “Near Knossos” was painted. After decades of financial insecurity, he was able to dedicate himself to the studio and painting full-time.

Co-curators of the exhibition, Deborah Hart and Rebecca Edwards said that the painting exemplified the confidence and ambition of Smart’s painting of the ’70s onwards.

“Near Knossos” is an important addition to the gallery’s holdings of Smart’s work which includes 17 paintings and 11 works on paper, most of which date from the late ’40s and ’50s.

“Jeffrey Smart” closes on May 15. 













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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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