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It’s the Renaisance for the summer blockbuster at the NGA

By 30 August 2011 17

Event Schedule
  • 9 December 2011 to 9 April 2012

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The National Gallery has unveiled its big summer series and it’s the works of the Accademia Carrara.

This unique exhibition offers audiences an unparalleled chance to see Early and High Renaissance paintings by some of the greatest European artists. Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini and Titian are represented among an amazing gamut of talent and creative splendour. More than 70 works on canvas and panel will be on display, made between 1400 and 1600 by painters in northern and central Italy.

Of extraordinary quality, the paintings come from Venice, Florence, Padua, Ferrara, Bergamo and Siena. Subjects range from touching depictions of the Madonna and Child, the lives of the Saints and moving renditions of the Crucifixion to insightful portraits of nobles. The genius of Raphael and Titian is known to all, but lesser known painters such as Tura, Crivelli, Lotto, Carpaccio, Perugino and Moroni will also announce their prodigious talents.

UPDATE: There’s also a media release:

None of the works in the exhibition has ever left Europe before. The paintings are only able to be loaned by the National Gallery of Australia because the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo is renovating its display spaces and is closed. The National Gallery of Australia has organised the exhibition in partnership with the City of Bergamo and its Pinacoteca Accademia Carrara, Bergamo. The city of Bergamo is situated in the province of Lombardy in Northern Italy, near Milan.

‘Renaissance is an unparalleled opportunity for Australians to see works of extraordinary quality created by masters of the Early and High Renaissance period without having to travel overseas. There has never been an exhibition in Australia that has included fifteenth-century Italian art, and this period is barely represented in Australian collections,’ said Dr Ron Radford AM, Director of the National Gallery of Australia.

‘Some of the most famous names in the history of art are represented in the exhibition. No paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini or Perugino have ever been shown in Australia before,’ he said.

FURTHER UPDATE: Andrew Barr is pointing out that the ACT Government has chipped in $500,000 for this:

The ACT Labor Government is providing $500,000 to support the National Gallery of Australia’s Renaissance exhibition which will boost Canberra’s tourism industry.

The new exhibition is the first to receive funding under the ACT Labor Government’s Special Event Fund, aimed at ensuring we can better take advantage of opportunities such as this exhibition to increase interstate and international visitor numbers to Canberra.

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17 Responses to It’s the Renaisance for the summer blockbuster at the NGA
#1
dungfungus9:20 am, 31 Aug 11

If this exhibition is only half as good as it promises to be then why on earth has Andrew Barr (a man who has never risked a dollar of his own) got to give $500k of ACT ratepayers’ money to the cause?
Barr calls it “special events money”. I say that having regular art exhibitions in the NGA is the norm; nothing special about it. There must be another agenda here because there are heaps more important matters requiring ratepayers’ money than the arts. Barr needs to explain himself more that the usual justification of boosting interstate (and international) visitor numbers to Canberra.

#2
G-Fresh2:57 pm, 31 Aug 11

I for one appreciate my stamp duty dollars going towards the fine arts. Or the fat cat gallery owner from Bergamo what’s raking it in.

#3
simonleeds9:09 pm, 31 Aug 11

I work part-time at one of Canberra’s five star hotels and when the French Masterpieces exhibition was on a couple of years ago we had a huge spike in business over the summer. Old rich white people from Sydney and regional NSW love coming to see European art at the National Gallery so I think it’s a sure thing that this exhibition will attract tourism.
However, I agree with dungfungus that $500k is a ridiculous amount of money to be spending on advertising for the exhibition, the French Masterpieces exhibition did perfectly fine without such an exorbitant advertising budget. The same sort of old rich white people will come to town again, only this time Barr will try to claim the credit.

#4
creative_canberran10:27 pm, 31 Aug 11

simonleeds said :

I work part-time at one of Canberra’s five star hotels and when the French Masterpieces exhibition was on a couple of years ago we had a huge spike in business over the summer. Old rich white people from Sydney and regional NSW love coming to see European art at the National Gallery so I think it’s a sure thing that this exhibition will attract tourism.
However, I agree with dungfungus that $500k is a ridiculous amount of money to be spending on advertising for the exhibition, the French Masterpieces exhibition did perfectly fine without such an exorbitant advertising budget. The same sort of old rich white people will come to town again, only this time Barr will try to claim the credit.

The French Masterpieces exhibition you mention attracted over 470,000 visitors and contributed just under $100 million dollars to the ACT economy.
The ACT Government was a principal sponsor of the exhibition and contributed $500,000 to marketing it.

So that’s your argument down the toilet.

The previous Degas exhibition attracted over 100,000 visitors and injected $30million into the economy. The ACT Government did not sponsor it directly but ACTEWAGL was a principal sponsor.

So given the success of the French Masterpieces you speak of… $500,000 isn’t so “ridiculous” given the success it brought.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-04-19/au-revoir-masterpieces-from-paris/401330

#5
wooster11:00 pm, 31 Aug 11

Any enlightened rioters out there know roughly how much said exhibition would be worth in dollar terms? Are we talking a real blockbuster, or just a flash-in-the-pan, “we’re renovating, so here ya go” type of thing?

Thoughts’d be appreciated.

Pip pip

#6
dungfungus9:15 am, 01 Sep 11

creative-canberran defends Barr’s decision to spend another $500k after the same amount was spent on the French Masters exhibition which according to the ABC attracted 470,000 visitors (20% from the ACT) and injected $100million into the ACT “economy”.
Will someone please explain, how this helps the ACT ratepayers who have underwritten this “gift”, get their $500k back?
Remember income tax and GST are paid to the Commonwealth, not the ACT government and the ACT government does not sell any of the goods and services that are provided to the interstate visitors.
How about all ACT ratepayers be admitted free to the forthcoming exhibition then? I would be happy with that. I mean, Mr. Barr will be attending several cocktail parties at the NGA free of charge thanks to us ratepayers.
Personally, I have had a gutfull of this current government and their self-serving offshoots like ACTEW and Rhodium giving away millions of dollars in grants, sponsorships, pet projects etc.

#7
creative_canberran11:18 am, 01 Sep 11

dungfungus said :

creative-canberran defends Barr’s decision to spend another $500k after the same amount was spent on the French Masters exhibition which according to the ABC attracted 470,000 visitors (20% from the ACT) and injected $100million into the ACT “economy”.
Will someone please explain, how this helps the ACT ratepayers who have underwritten this “gift”, get their $500k back?
Remember income tax and GST are paid to the Commonwealth, not the ACT government and the ACT government does not sell any of the goods and services that are provided to the interstate visitors.

Well there’s these wonderful things called businesses in Canberra, you may have head of them. Hotels, restaurants, cafes, gift shops… I could go on. Places visitors tend to go and spend money when they visit. They are part of the “economy.”

The “economy” is the financial ecosystem of the territory both public and private.

This isn’t a gift… it’s an investment in attracting people who put money into local business (who in turn pay tax) and in turn employ locals.

Seems very logical.

Let’s put it another way. If we look at the $500,000 as an investment, in the same light as a bank deposit, debenture, stock purchase and so on… and accept that $100million is the return on that investment…. what’s the return on that: 99.5%!

Even if the exhibition is a total flop and attracts half or a third of the number the French Exhibition did for the same investment, you’re still seeing a return on investment as good or better than you would get putting that money into shares or a cash fund.

#8
dungfungus9:41 pm, 01 Sep 11

creative_canberran said :

dungfungus said :

creative-canberran defends Barr’s decision to spend another $500k after the same amount was spent on the French Masters exhibition which according to the ABC attracted 470,000 visitors (20% from the ACT) and injected $100million into the ACT “economy”.
Will someone please explain, how this helps the ACT ratepayers who have underwritten this “gift”, get their $500k back?
Remember income tax and GST are paid to the Commonwealth, not the ACT government and the ACT government does not sell any of the goods and services that are provided to the interstate visitors.

Well there’s these wonderful things called businesses in Canberra, you may have head of them. Hotels, restaurants, cafes, gift shops… I could go on. Places visitors tend to go and spend money when they visit. They are part of the “economy.”

The “economy” is the financial ecosystem of the territory both public and private.

This isn’t a gift… it’s an investment in attracting people who put money into local business (who in turn pay tax) and in turn employ locals.

Seems very logical.

Let’s put it another way. If we look at the $500,000 as an investment, in the same light as a bank deposit, debenture, stock purchase and so on… and accept that $100million is the return on that investment…. what’s the return on that: 99.5%!

Even if the exhibition is a total flop and attracts half or a third of the number the French Exhibition did for the same investment, you’re still seeing a return on investment as good or better than you would get putting that money into shares or a cash fund.

I am so glad you are not my superannuation fund manager, creative-canberran.

#9
I-filed9:59 pm, 01 Sep 11

Hmmmm – may not be top-notch works. This doesn’t look to be a brilliantly curated exhibition, but a “while the works are off our walls they might as well be on tour” show. I don’t think it can be compared to the French masters’ exhibition which was a very thoughtful and beautifully put-together exhibition. NGA shouldn’t build expectations regarding this one – or it will risk being seen as a flop. If they don’t try to jump up expectations, it could be a moderate success …. and seen as such. Promotion can be a two-edged sword folks!

#10
creative_canberran10:20 pm, 01 Sep 11

dungfungus said :

I am so glad you are not my superannuation fund manager, creative-canberran.[/quote>

Best you can do is snide remarks…

How bout showing your numbers. Show the numbers that tell us a $100m return on $500,000 isn’t a good deal. Hell, show the numbers that say a $30m return isn’t good on $500,000.

But you can’t can you. All tip and no iceberg.

#11
FreeRange8:59 am, 02 Sep 11

I-filed said :

Hmmmm – may not be top-notch works. This doesn’t look to be a brilliantly curated exhibition, but a “while the works are off our walls they might as well be on tour” show. I don’t think it can be compared to the French masters’ exhibition which was a very thoughtful and beautifully put-together exhibition. NGA shouldn’t build expectations regarding this one – or it will risk being seen as a flop. If they don’t try to jump up expectations, it could be a moderate success …. and seen as such. Promotion can be a two-edged sword folks!

The French Masters wasn’t ‘curated’, it was a storage exchange while the Louvre renovated. It was just lucky that it had great pieces in it. If it had been ‘curated’ it would have been even better exhibition with more interesting works.

#12
dungfungus10:29 am, 02 Sep 11

creative_canberran said :

dungfungus said :

I am so glad you are not my superannuation fund manager, creative-canberran.[/quote>

Best you can do is snide remarks…

How bout showing your numbers. Show the numbers that tell us a $100m return on $500,000 isn’t a good deal. Hell, show the numbers that say a $30m return isn’t good on $500,000.

But you can’t can you. All tip and no iceberg.

The “numbers” you are playing with are academic because the $500k is not an “investment” – it is a grant, on behalf of the ACT ratepayers who, once again, were not consulted and they won’t be receiving any interest, dividends or more importantly, no direct return of capital. This appears to be a concept you are unable to grasp.
Without wanting to be snide (again) I would suggest that you are in a non-contributory defined benefit superannuation scheme.
Some of the other posts indicate this exhibition will not be up to the class of the benchmark French Masters so perhaps the amount of the grant is not commensurate with the risk. If Barr has to spend money on the arts I would rather see something permanent like Stanhope’s roadside fantasies which kind of grow on you.

#13
johnboy10:35 am, 02 Sep 11

Historically I’d say this one’s actually more significant than what came out last year from the musee d’orsay (not the louvre).

The paintings might arguably not have the wow of a great Van Gogh, but Van Gogh is relatively common and there are many of his works on permanent display in Australia (albeit generally lesser works).

Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini however are incredibly influential and anyone with a passing interest in art is aware they should know about them.

And those three have never ever had a work displayed on this continent.

That’s a pretty big draw for me.

#14
la mente torbida11:16 am, 02 Sep 11

@Johnboy, very eloquent, couldn’t have said it better myself

#15
creative_canberran12:24 pm, 02 Sep 11

dungfungus said :

The “numbers” you are playing with are academic because the $500k is not an “investment” – it is a grant, on behalf of the ACT ratepayers who, once again, were not consulted and they won’t be receiving any interest, dividends or more importantly, no direct return of capital. This appears to be a concept you are unable to grasp.
Without wanting to be snide (again) I would suggest that you are in a non-contributory defined benefit superannuation scheme.
Some of the other posts indicate this exhibition will not be up to the class of the benchmark French Masters so perhaps the amount of the grant is not commensurate with the risk. If Barr has to spend money on the arts I would rather see something permanent like Stanhope’s roadside fantasies which kind of grow on you.

lol, so you would rather the government spend the $500,000 on a “roadside fantasies” with an intangible return and ongoing maintenance costs than on an exhibition with a (likely) immediate, tangible return.

And you would rather that $500,000 go to one or two artists making those “roadside fantasies” than going to the many media and creative staff who will create the marketing which in turn can drive income that goes to the thousands of Canberrans who work in tourism related industries.

Move aside people, we’ve got ourselves a new Treasurer!

#16
motleychick2:17 pm, 02 Sep 11

johnboy said :

Historically I’d say this one’s actually more significant than what came out last year from the musee d’orsay (not the louvre).

The paintings might arguably not have the wow of a great Van Gogh, but Van Gogh is relatively common and there are many of his works on permanent display in Australia (albeit generally lesser works).

Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini however are incredibly influential and anyone with a passing interest in art is aware they should know about them.

And those three have never ever had a work displayed on this continent.

That’s a pretty big draw for me.

Completely agree, JB! Bought my tickets this morning and am ready to go! Even though it starts in December… Lol.

#17
PoQ8:39 am, 30 Mar 12

I went to the exhibition, and my comment would be, read up on the lives of the saints before you go – saints Paul, Peter, Michael, Catherine of Siena, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome.

Coming from an atheist background, I had no idea of who these people were, or why they were worth having their portraits painted.

While you’re at it, read up on classical symbolism – who would have thought that a cherry represented the joys of heaven (cf Tertullian)? and Virginia the Roman. It’ll make the $25 worth it.

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