My days in Melbourne were coming to an end and the weather had turned rather sour. With that in mind I spent two of my final days indoors, exploring the dual National Galleries of Victoria (NGV).
The International Gallery is this huge concrete block. It houses primarily European Art and objects from the last 500 or so years. I figured this would be a good place to start. One problem. It was closed today. Oops!
Thankfully, the NGV is very smart. Their second main gallery, the NGV Australia, and the International are closed on different days. So I wandered over to Federation Square once again to visit the gallery dedicated to Australian Art.
Both NGVs have extensive free exhibits, along with one or two special paid exhibits. Being thrifty as I am, I simply enjoyed the free things. Of which, I spent several hours with at the Australia.
Overall, the art was very interesting and covered a few centuries. Many paintings had a good amount of description with them, helpful to those (me) with little to no background in art. I’m consistently floored by how GOOD people can recreate landscapes and scenes with simple paints.
And thankfully, the non-art was kept to a minimum. I have a fairly low level of requirement when it comes to art involving paint, drawing, canvas, etc: If I can reproduce it or something of a simile, then IT IS NOT ART.
Things like that were naturally in the ‘Modern’ section. While there was still some art in the Modern area, far too much space was dedicated to ‘Black square in top right corner of white background’ type silliness.
As I mentioned, thankfully that stuff was a very minor part of the NGVA. One part I found especially interesting was the Aboriginal art on the ground floor. They extensively liked to use something called dot-painting. It has a really neat effect.
The following day I returned to the NGV International and began my perusal of their massive European catalogue.
I’d say that most of the art fell into three main categories: Landscape, Portrait, and Biblical. The Biblical stuff was often the most impressive. Again, I really appreciated all of the information they provided with the pieces. It was also interesting where they had some of the more famous artist pieces (such as Rembrant), discussing how art gets attributed to one artist or another, apprentices, etc.
There was also quite a bit of sculpture, carvings and other types scattered around. I liked this main hall of stained glass. On the top floor was again the more modern holdings, thankfully again small. But the NGVI did have the type of Modern Art I enjoy most (as I can participate!) – Photography.
All in all, both Galleries were an excellent way to spend a few cloudy afternoons. That evening I concluded my time in Melbourne with Bubble-Tea and Sushi dinner with a lovely Melburnian. For the next day I was hitting the road – the Great Ocean Road to be precise!