Life: bits and pieces

The romance of beauty: ‘Love & Desire’ exhibition at National Gallery of Australia

In January I had the pleasure of visiting the National Gallery in Canberra for the exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate. The exhibition is on until the end of April 2019 and if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d encourage a visit to Canberra (if you don’t live too far away, that is.) It’s a beautiful experience.

Information about the exhibition is on the NGA website

I was somewhat vague about this group of artists, who produced their works in the nineteenth century.  I’d expected images of beautiful women in flowing robes, flowers floating on lakes,  Biblical stories and medieval legends brought to life. I found all those things, and  more. Incredibly accurate representations of nature in landscapes, alongside detailed scenes of everyday life of the times. Portraits, works about tragedy and love, goddesses and strong, powerful women, and – most surprising of all to me – the works of William Morris of the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement.

So much colour and romance, so many powerful stories. For a small group of artists working (as many do) in relative poverty and obscurity, the Pre-Raphaelites produced work that packed a solid artistic and cultural punch.

It reminded me that stories aren’t always told in words alone. Colour, shapes, images, rhythm, music – these are all ways to tell stories.

If you’ve seen the exhibition in Canberra, or been lucky enough to see the works at the Tate or elsewhere, let me know in the comments below.



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One Comment

  • Andy

    I’ve seen the exhibition as well, or should I say ‘absorbed’ the exhibition. They are works of great beauty and the hidden elements of images are the things I really liked. You can find little ‘secrets’ in the paintings if you look hard enough and create your own interpretation of the artwork rather than depend solely on the ones given in the blurbs about each one. A wonderful exhibition. Of course ‘Ophelia’ is a corker but the suffering the model went through needs to also be acknowledged!

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