National Gallery of Victoria

Weather :

Timings : 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM,
ANZAC Day: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM,
Closed on Christmas

Time Required : 2 - 3 hours

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

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National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Overview

The National Gallery of Victoria or NGV is one of Australia’s most visited art museums, hosting over 70,000 incredible pieces of art not just from Australia, but from talented artists across the globe and throughout history. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest art museum in the country. Through the collection present here, you can witness various ideas, styles, and disciplines across centuries and cultures, represented in the beautiful artworks.

The vast collection of the National Gallery of Victoria is divided into two buildings, the NGV International in Southbank and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square. The NGV International building is dedicated to showcasing the extensive collection of art from foreign artists, hailing from Europe, Asia, America, and Oceania, while the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia houses a comprehensive collection of Australian and Aboriginal art. The NGV is home to one of the finest art collections in the entire world. This enormous collection includes paintings, textiles, artefacts, sculptures, crafts and even photography. The NGV hosts many temporary exhibitions and events of the kind throughout the year. Cafes and a restaurant are also present in the premises.

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Best Time To Visit National Gallery of Victoria

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial

The NGV Triennial is a showcase of the artistic work of over 100 artists spread over 32 countries. This blockbuster event takes place not on one floor but across all floors of the gallery. With a variety of categories to learn about – including animation, cutting edge tech, film, painting, performance art, drawing, fashion tapestry, sculpture, and design – you'll never be underwhelmed or bored. The Triennial focuses on different themes and tells a story in a variety of mediums. One of the themes is the Movement of People. It is one of the deepest and impactful social stories in today's time. Created by the most creative minds in the world, the artwork here will take your breath away.

Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

Held for over 100 days between June and October, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces is a series of exhibitions that sources exhibit from galleries and institutions across the globe. This is done for various reasons such as generating an economic impact, attracting visitors to Victoria in the off-peak tourism season and generating media attention. NGV's Melbourne Winter Masterpieces have attracted over 5 million visitors and injected more than $400 million into Victoria's economy. The 2019 exhibition is Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality, a presentation of the Qin Emperor’s Terracotta Warriors which is known as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The previous exhibitions in this series are Masterworks from MoMA (2018), Van Gogh And The Seasons (2017), Degas: A New Vision (2016), Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine The Great (2015), and Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court (2014).

National Gallery of Victoria Triennial

Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

National Gallery of Victoria Artworks

The massive collections of over 70,000 exquisite artworks at the National Gallery of Victoria have been broadly divided into 7 sections:

1. Asian Art
The Asian Art section at the National Gallery of Victoria holds a massive collection of over 5000 artworks, with the history of the collection being traced back to 1862. You can find all sorts of artworks such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, textiles and many more forms, all tracing their heritage to every part of Asia. Perusing the collection here can help you observe and understand the various traditions and cultures of the diverse continent, as well as the impact of cross-cultural interactions that has taken place ove the years. The highlights of the Asian art collection are the Chinese tomb ware, scholarly paintings and porcelain from China, Buddhist art and woodblock printing from Japan, paintings from India, Persian art and Central Asian fabric.

2. Australian Art
Australian Art at NGV dates from the time of European settlement to the 1980s. This includes over 1200 decorative art objects (such as woodwork, metalwork, etc), approximately 1500 paintings, and around 200 sculptures. Here you will learn about the history and development of the country's art and its significance in the present time. Displayed at the Ian Potter Centre, the highlight of this incredible collection is the Joseph Brown Collection.

3. Contemporary Art
Created in the 1980s, the Contemporary Art collection at NGV displays a variety of paintings, sculptures and art installations, created by artists from all around the world to showcase the evolution of art, its creation and its representation. Among the highlights of this section are the massive Red Deer created from glass, acrylic and crystal beads, and the seemingly endless Stairs to Heaven

4. Decorative Art
A part of Australian Art, this department of gathers antiques from Mediterranean, Near Eastern and British and Continental regions. It looks after glass, ceramics, metalwork, furniture, and jewelry. Highlights of this collection include English glass of 17th and 18th century, Italian Renaissance maiolica, Continental porcelain from the 18th century, 20th-century Viennese designs and seat furniture, and decorative arts from the 19th century.

5. Contemporary Design and Architecture
A fairly new addition to the National Gallery of Victoria's art management, this section examines the the evolution of the fields of design and architecture in the modern world, and how it has been presented in the current society, ranging from product design to creation of an entire surounding and setting. Among the highlighted works of art here are the Wave Sofa, the Standing Place and the Lockheed Lounge.

6. Fashion & Textiles
The Fashion and Textiles Section at NGV hosts one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind, with over 8,500 work on display. With the oldest piece here being the Egyptian Coptic Textiles from the 6th Century, it is absolutely fascinating to witness the timeline and evolution of the fashion industry, traditional and contemporary, throughout the ages and into the splendour of the 21st century.

7. Indigenous Art
One of the crown jewels of the Ian Potter Centre's collection, the main focus of the Indigenous Art collection is towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. With over 5000 original artwork being beautifully preserved here, you will witness the magnificence behind Aboriginal art, and understand why it is heavily valued across the world. You can also find original artworks from indigenous societies of America and Africa, before the advent of colonisation.

8. International Art
The highlight of NGV International, the International Art section holds a plethora of some of the best artworks the world has seen over the years, particularly that of the period between 1300 and 1980, where major developments took place in the art world through the various historical events occuring in Europe. Be it the classic Italian paintings of the 14th century, the Impressionist painting style of France or the timeless sculptures of the 18th and 19th century, the artworks of the International Art section are sure to blow your mind and help you appreciate art in a whole new manner. The highlights of this section are the works of world-renowned iconic painters like Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, and the ever so famous recreation of the Thinker.

9. Photography
The Photography collection at NGV is home to about 14,000 photographs with the collection spanning almost a 200 year era. Regular exhibitions are hold by the department to curate and display special photos of the collection as per the theme of the event. If you want to explore the world of Australian photography and witness compositions of artists like Tracey Moffat, Rosemary Laing and many more, as well as global contemporary photographers like Jeff Wall, Richard Mosse and Thomas Struth, then look no further. You can also find the earliest recorded photogtaph of the Aboriginal Community, taken by Douglas Kilburn, prominently showcased in this collection that takes you through history and the world through its images. The displays are regularly changed here, but appointments can be made of Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to view the entirety of this collection.

10. Prints and Drawings
A treasure of the NGV collection, the Prints and Drawings section has some of the best artworks and old drawings from around the world, boasting of works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya and William Blake. You can witness the old master drawings as well as a collection of drawings from Australia, showcasing the prowess of the print and drawing culture in Oceania. The displays are regularly changed here, but appointments can be made of Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to view the entirety of this collection.

Highlights of National Gallery of Victoria

Among the most prominent pieces at the NGV are Tom Roberts’ Shearing the Rams, Arthur Streeton’s The Purple Noon’s Transparent Might and Frederick McCubbin’s The Pioneer as well as works from renowned masters such as Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt amongst others. A highlight of the NGV International Collection is the first cast of The Thinker, the iconic masterpiece of Auguste Rodin from 1884. In 1967, the photography department was established, where you can see famous pieces such as David Moore’s Surrey Hills Street 1948 and Frantisek Drtikol’s Nude 1939. Within the Department of Prints and Drawings, which holds, which holds one-third of the Gallery’s collection, you can see some of the most fascinating engravings and woodcuts by Durer and works by William Blake. Other prominent artworks include the collection of antiquities ranging from Greek vases to Egyptian artifacts. One of the most striking features of NGV is the Stained Glass Ceiling in the Great Hall. Known as the Persian Rug of Light, it is currently the largest suspended piece of stained glass in the world.

Joseph Brown Collection

Price: Free entry,
Location: Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square
The Joseph Brown Collection is a special collection of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria. On permanent display at the Ian Potter Centre, it was received by the gallery from Dr Joseph Brown in 2004, and was the most generous gift of artworks to a public gallery in Australia during the time. The massive collection donated has artworks by some of the most iconic Australian artists such as Conrad Martens, Margaret Preston, Arthur Boyd, Arthur Streeton and many more artists, each from a significant time period of the country starting from the colonial era. The collection also includes works by amazing Indigenous artists.

National Gallery of Victoria Tours

1. NGV International Art Collection
Timings: 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM & 2:00 PM,
Duration: 50 minutes
Be a part of the tour of the vast and beautiful NGV International Gallery. You'll be shown invaluable art pieces like Banquet of Cleopatra, famous works of Auguste Rodin and Sean Scully, and more. Moreover, you'll also be introduced to the breathtaking Asian Art, bronze sculptures, decorative arts, and furniture.

2. NGV Australian Art Collection
Timings: 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM & 2:00 PM,
Duration: 50 minutes
Get a free tour of NGV Australia's exhibitions. Spread over three floors the collection includes decorative art, indigenous and international paintings, prints and drawings, textile and fashion, and more.

How to Reach National Gallery of Victoria

NGV International
  • By Bus: The 109 express bus will take you to the Arts Centre bus stop on St Kilda Road, located opposite the NGV International Building.
  • By Tram: Trams 1, 3, 3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 and 72 will take you to the Arts Precinct Station on St Kilda Road, located right across the road from the NGV International Building
  • By Train: The Flinders Street Station, Melbourne's most iconic and well-connected railway station, is situated less than a kilometer away. It will take you about 5 minutes to reach the NGV international Building from here.
Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
  • By Bus: Buses 941, 942, 944, 945, 951, 952, 955, 961, 966 and 969 will take you to the St Pauls Cathedral Bus Stop on Flinders Street. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Building is a 5 minute walk from the bus stop.
  • By Tram: The Russel Street-Flinders Street Station, also known as Russel Street Stop 6, is located right next to the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Building. This station may be accessed by trams 35, 70 and 75.
  • By Train: The Flinders Street Station, Melbourne's most iconic and well-connected railway station, is situated less than a kilometer away. It will take you about 5 minutes to reach the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Building from here.

Activities at National Gallery of Victoria

1. Mystery Making
Price: Free entry,
Location: NGV International - Ground Floor, Great Hall
This school holiday season, head over to NGV for something fun to do with the whole family. Families with children can join in free and drop by for exciting workshops such as playdough making inspired by Pictionary! The game. The workshops are suitable for kids of all ages, under supervision.

2. Creative Encounters: Textiles For Days
Time: 10:30 AM - 2:00 PM (20-minute break in between),
Price: AUD 18 for members and AUD 20 for non-members,
Location: NGV International - Ground Level, Information Desk
Refine your fashion skills by meeting like-minded peers and creating your very own, unique piece of wearable clothing or jewelry. The workshop is conducted by Louise Meuwissen, who is a master in textiles, embroidery, and sculpture making and installation. Let out your inner fashionista here. You can get your own wearable to embellish or work on something new from scratch.

3. Relaxed Morning
Time: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM,
Price:
Family (2 adults + 3 children): AUD 60,
Adult: AUD 22,
Concession: AUD 18,
Child (5-15 years): AUD 10,
Location: NGV International - Ground Level
Relaxed Morning is a chance for visitors with sensory sensitivities, autism or other disabilities, to have a quieter experience of NGV. With fewer people and reduced noise, the staff over at NGV would make sure the visitors are catered with utmost comfort and ease.

4. Tea Room
Aside from viewing timeless art at NGV, one can also enjoy high tea in The Tea Room on level 1 which offers an ever-changing menu reflecting the themes in the gallery’s major exhibitions. The Tea Room known for its extensive tea menu includes the house blend mix of Earl Grey and English breakfast as well as presents a modern interpretation of classic cakes and savory bites.

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