Issue 157 | April 2012
Renaissance | Members news | Exhibition Design | Events | Recipe | Subscriber giveaway & Members offer
01 Renaissance Renaissance: 15th & 16th century paintings from the
Accademia Carrara,

In less than two weeks, Renaissance will be leaving Australia so don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see works by Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini and Titian in Australia.  Pre-book your Renaissance tickets now at
or phone 132 849.

Renaissance will be open every day of the Easter long weekend with extended opening hours.

The busiest sessions are consistently 10am, 11am and 2pm and these sessions often sell out. The best time to visit the exhibition is during the late afternoon sessions.

Easter weekend opening hours Friday 6 April, 10am – 7pm
Saturday 7 April, 10am – 9pm
Sunday 8 April, 10am – 9pm
Monday 9 April, 9am – 5pm

Giovanni Bellini 'Madonna and Child' c.1488 Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, bequest of Giovanni Morelli 1891

Veuve Clicquot Sculpture Bar
There are only two more Fridays left to enjoy Sculpture Bar! Join us from 5pm on Friday 30 March and Friday 4 April.  Enjoy a drink before or after the exhibition or just celebrate the end of the working week.

02 Secular
works in
Renaissance Simeran Maxwell, Exhibition Assistant for Renaissance, discusses secular works in the exhibition

From the beginning of the fifteenth century, Renaissance art was dominated by the patronage of the Catholic Church. Gradually over the course of the next two centuries, however, this dominance began to wain. As audiences walk through Renaissance they will see the return of portraiture. This heralded new ideas concerning the importance of the individual and the position that humans held in the hierarchical structure of Renaissance society. Of around twenty-two images of real people in the paintings in the exhibition, there are fourteen discrete, commissioned portraits.

Along with these works, visitors to Renaissance will also see a handful of works which do not have spiritual significance that the many devotional panels do. Marco del Buono and Apollonio di Giovanni where two Florentine artist who ran a very successful workshop that specialized in producing decorative cassoni or wedding chests. These often elaborate trunks held dowry items or trousseau which a new bride would take with her to her husband’s home. Love procession is believed to be part of the front section of a cassoni painted by these two artists in around 1440. It shows a procession of people each with their hands tied together, possibly symbolizing the binding power of love.

attributed to Marco del Buono and Apollonio di Giovanni 'Love procession' c.1440s Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, bequest of Antonietta Noli, widow of Carlo Marenzi 1901

In this same vein, Francesco Botticini’s wooden panel Tobias and the Archangel Raphael  c.1480–85 was originally used as a standard. It would originally have been attached to a pole and carried in procession through the streets of Florence to celebrate the Confraternity of Saint Raphael. Although the banner depicts a religious story, the main purpose of the image would have been its connection to the namesake of this lay group.

Francesco Botticini ' Tobias and the Archangel Raphael' c.1480-85 Accademia Carrara, Bergamo Bequest of Giovanni Morelli 1891

03 Members news

Stefano Canturi and Jewels of the Renaissance

Members recently enjoyed two wonderful events here at the National Gallery in association with the current Renaissance exhibition.  On Sunday 18th March members were invited to attend Afternoon Aperitifs and Antipasti with special guests Lucio Galletto and David Dale, who engaged the audience with tales from their Italian travels and the story behind their recently published cookbook – The Art of Pasta. Christine Dixon, the coordinating curator of the exhibition gave an insightful introduction to the exhibition and the works, followed by a viewing of the exhibition. 

Stefano Canturi, master Australian Jeweller, visited us on Tuesday 20th March and toured the exhibition with curator Lucina Ward and a small group of members.  Discussing jewellery appearing in the works of the exhibition, Stefano delighted us with his engaging and overwhelming knowledge of renaissance jewellery and the influence it has had on his work.  This was followed by afternoon tea in the Sculpture Garden restaurant, where Stefano continued to share his enthusiasm for his art with our members.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Lucio, David and Stefano for sharing their passion and knowledge with NGA members.

04 Event
highlights Go to calendar
for all events


05 Behind the scenes:
design Patrice Riboust, Senior Exhibition Designer, tells us about the design of the Renaissance exhibition space

The Temporary Exhibition Gallery has been transformed for Renaissance. The challenge of such a task is to create a built environment which supports and adds to the experience of the works on display without detracting from their significance.

The design brief for this transformation contained three key elements:

-The design of the space should reflect the six themes of the exhibition’s curatorial structure.

-The design should contain elements of Renaissance architecture.

-The design should contain wall colours which relate to the Northern Italy as well as echoing Italian Museum scenographies.

Patrice took inspiration from many renowned buildings such as San Miniato al Monte basilica in Florence. A semi circular archway between each room in the exhibition was introduced. Observations of typical Renaissance architectural vocabulary revealed the main elements: arch, capital, moulding, pilaster and base. These same features can be seen in the works in the exhibition by Schiavone, D’alemagna, Foppa and Botticelli. These elements were stylistically simplified to avoid bringing unnecessary additions to the experience of the paintings.

The corners of the oblong rooms have been softened using angled walls. This is commonly seen in ecclesiastical architecture. Interestingly visitors may not notice this device, just the intimate, less angular feeling it produces.

The spectacular view from one end of the exhibition through the archways creates a symmetrical enfilade – a vista of doorways, this is also particularly reminiscent of a ecclesiastical architecture.

Another design element which has been successfully engaged to create a feeling of intimacy in the space is the use of a moulding to reduce the height of the display walls. The height of the moulding was tailored to accommodate the small to medium scale works in the exhibition, which would have been lost on the standard five metre high walls without such a device.

The colours chosen for the walls of the first three rooms are taken from inspiration such as Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in Florence and Michelangelo's Laurentian Library. The Venetian Red in the last room creates a striking conclusion to the exhibition as well as denoting the change in the works. The portraiture in this room with their grey backgrounds, as apposed to religious subjects adorned with gold, are beautifully set off by the red walls.

One of the inspirations for the Renaissance Family Activity Room was Andrea Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. In this theatre Palladio was able to distort perspective to create a spectacular street scene backdrop.

View a gallery of images of the Renaissance exhibition space.

Patrice is now working on another transformation of the Temporary Exhibition Gallery for UnDisclosed: 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial which opens in May.

06 Liberace
memorial fountian Peter Tully's unique Liberace Memorial Fountain on display for the first time in 20 years as part of Play

Visitors entering the Play exhibition, currently on display in the Children's gallery, are greeted by the twinkling Peter Tully Liberace Memorial Fountain. This three-metre high tribute to the late pianist’s life is an object of wonder to both adults and children. Made from a dazzling array of found objects, this sculpture pays tribute to overlooked everyday materials, including the kitsch and the broken, and highlights Tully’s message “that art is for everyone.”

Andrew Pearce, Objects Conservator, tells us about his experience preparing this unique sculpture for its first display in 20 years.

For an objects conservator, our work is highly varied. Many hours can be spent painstakingly stabilising a tiny but fragile item of beadwork, or delicately treating the corrosion on a single coin. In the gallery environment, these objects seem often to get little more than a cursory glance by the passing visitor. Now and then however, the opportunity arises to prepare a work of art which has a little more impact. The Peter Tully Liberace Memorial Fountain was one such opportunity.

It is truly a delight to work on an object such as this. Over three metres in height, festooned with crystals, shiny beads and pearls, surfaces of gleaming white plaster, brass and chrome, mosaics of buttons and fragments of mirror, dozens of sparkling decorative items, spilling reams of crushed velvet, and surrounded with strings of white fairy lights. This is art that doesn’t sit quietly in the corner expecting to be overlooked, it leaps out you squealing “Hey! Look at Me!”

It’s over 20 years since the Liberace Memorial Fountain was last on display. For many people, this will be their first opportunity to view it, and that merely adds to the impact.

The first decree when it came to preparing the fountain for exhibition was the following:

“It’s not going on display if the lights don’t work.”

After assembling the core structure of the fountain we could commence some serious electrical detective work. Once rendered both electrically operational and safe for display, it was time to face the task of preparing the decorative side, re-attaching loose beads, repairing aged glue joints and polishing a myriad of mirrors and buttons. With the work benches covered in ornaments, visitors to objects conservation were dazzled, pondering how they might have stumbled into a baroque version of Alladin’s cave or something akin to the worlds most flamboyant garage sale.

Installation week was a fascinating time for me, seeing the complete structure together for the first time rather than simply the component parts in isolation. It’s certainly a sight to behold. Do please come and see the Liberace Memorial Fountain in the newly opened Play exhibition. I think you’ll understand why I view working on it as one of the highlights of my conservation career. Play is on display until 24 June.

07 Eat art Kylie Kwong's steamed crab with black bean and chilli sauce inspired by Brett Whiteley's Interior with time past

In 2004, the NGA produced a cookbook called 'Eat Art' featuring recipes by well-known chefs in response to works of art in the Gallery's collection. Over the coming months we will be sharing some of these recipes with you in artonline.

Kylie Kwong chose Brett Whiteley's Interior with time past 1976 as her inspiration. Below is what Kylie wrote about the work and the dish it inspired her to cook.

'The sensuality and seductive quality of Brett Whiteley's Interior with time past, its movement and aliveness, reflect the experience I have when I am cooking 'Steamed mud crab with black bean and chilli'. Cooking this dish is the most intense and gratifying act. The deliciously sweet, silky textured, luxurious flesh is tossed into a flaming wok - alongside the dizzying aromas and flavours of black bean, garlic and chilli. One's heart begins to thump, total emotional absorption - energy, life, rich, deep orange hues, visual beauty - nothing else matters.'

Brett Whiteley 'Interior with time past' 1976 National gallery of Australia Purchased 1978
This work appears on the screen courtesy of the estate of Brett Whiteley

Download Kylie Kwong's recipe for 'steamed crab with black bean and chilli'.

08 Around
the country
interstate events
and travelling

Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons opens at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia on 7 April. We are giving you the chance to win two complimentary tickets to the exhibition, plus a copy of the Fred Williams exhibition catalogue. To enter email Winners will be notified by COB 13 April 2012.

New South Wales
The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn gift: Red and Yellow cases | Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree NSW, 2 March – 9 April 2012

The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn gift: Blue case | Arts OutWest Inc, Bathurst NSW, 14 March –
30 April 2012

The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn gift: Red and Yellow cases | Arts North West, Glen Innes NSW, 10 April – 21 May 2012

Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix | Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, Vic, 19 April – 11 June 2012

Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons |
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne Vic., 7 April – 22 July 2012


Fred Williams 'Baobab trees, Kimberleys' 1979 Private collection
© estate of Fred Williams

In the spotlight: Anton Bruehl photographs 1920s–1950s | QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD, 18 February – 15 April 2012

Australian portraits 1880–1960 | Gladstone Regional Art Gallery, Gladstone QLD, 11 February – 12 May 2012

South Australia
The Elaine and Jim Wolfensohn gift: 1888 Melbourne cup | Civic Hall Galleries Port Lincoln SA, 15 March – 18 April 2012

09 Slow art Saturday 28 April 2012
11.00 am - 2.00 pm

On average, a visitor spends 17 seconds or less looking at an individual work of art. Slow Art Day encourages a more contemplative approach to art and is celebrated in over 75 galleries throughout the world.

The NGA will be holding a Slow Art event on 28 April from 11.00 am - 2.00 pm. Enjoy some of the national art collection highlights, including Jackson Pollock's Blue poles 1952 and Henri Matisse's Oceania the sea 1946, and give them the attention they deserve. Then join the group for a lively facilitated discussion over lunch.

For more information visit

Register online for Slow Art Canberra 2012 at the NGA or call 02 6240 6524.

The Slow Art 2012 website includes a full list of cities that are participating.

10 Latin American Film Festival
24 April - 4 May 2012
6.30 pm

The Latin American embassies in Canberra are proud to present the Latin American Film Festival. The festival, which runs from 24 April - 4 May, showcases 11 films from Latin America, including international award-winning pieces featuring some of the most exciting and creative productions to reach the big screen in recent years. All films are subtitled. Visit our website to view the full program.

Venue: James O Fairfax Theatre
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Limited numbers,
no bookings required. All screenings R18+.

Poster from Bazillian film 'The year my parents went on vacation' 2006. Directed by Cao Hamburger.

11 Subscribers
giveaway 10 double film passes to Romantics Anonymous
to be won

Jene-Rene (Benoît Poelvoorde - Coco and Chanel) is the boss of a chocolate factory and Angelique (Isabelle Carré – The Refuge) is a talented chocolatier. They are both emotionally – challenged people. Drawn together through a shared passion for chocolate, Jean- Rene and Angelique fall in love, but neither is able to express how they feel. Their crippling shyness is driving them apart. Will they manage to overcome their lack of self confidence and risk baring their true feelings?

View the trailer for Romantics Anonymous.

Romantics Anonymous opens 19 April.


We have 10 double passes to giveaway. Tickets are valid at selected cinemas in NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD, SA. Click here to see a list of cinemas screening this film. To enter respond by email to Winners will be notified by email by COB Friday 20 April.

12 Members
Special offer from Selby & Friends to NGA Members 10% discount on 2012 chamber music concerts

The 2012 Selby & Friends Season, directed by eminent Australian pianist Kathryn Selby, has begun with raves such as 'superlative' and casting a 'bewitching spell' from the Australian whilst the Sydney Morning Herald talked of Selby’s “easy mastery” and the “treasure trove” of gems to be found in the repertoire and artists of the series.  The 2012 season visits Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Bowral and Turramurra.

Selby & Friends is delighted to make this special offer to all NGA Members: receive a 10% discount off full priced tickets to any or all of the remaining four concerts in the 2012 season, concerts occurring in May, July, September and October.

For full season details please visit

To take advantage of this offer simply visit the Selby and Friends website, choose your venue and concert date(s) and place 'NGAMEMBERS' in the promotional code box on the payment page. Or phone (02) 9969 7039 and quote 'NGAMEMBERS' when purchasing. 

For the City Recital Hall series please visit and use the same special members code when purchasing.  This offer is available whilst tickets last.

13 'Roy Lichtenstein'
and Molonglo
Group Molonglo Group announce their support of the National Gallery of Australia exhibition Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix

Continuing their  tradition of supporting visionary artists and inspiring exhibitions in Australia, Canberra based property developers Molonglo Group announced their support of the National Gallery of Australia exhibition Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix.  In 2010-11 Molonglo Group were Cultural Partners of the National Gallery’s popular street art exhibition Space Invaders and now they are back supporting Roy Lichtenstein, who was one of the ‘greats’ of the American Pop Art movement.


Molonglo Group are passionate about the cultural enrichment of Canberra and their landmark NewActon precinct is designed to foster a dynamic sense of community, where residents and visitors connect through art and cultural experiences, design, sustainable living and the best that city life has to offer.
Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix will open on 19 April 2012 in Mornington Penninsula, VIC, and will travel back to Canberra in July 2013. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of artonline for your chance to win a unique NewActon experience!

Visit to find out more about this exciting company and how they are reshaping and re-imagining life in Canberra.