Stroll the laneways or visit one of the many museums; Melbourne is the city for art lovers.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is Melbourne’s most well-known art gallery. It has a free permanent collection and regularly hosts major exhibitions.
If you are interested in Australian artists, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is entirely dedicated to exhibiting some of Australia’s most prolific artists, including Sidney Nolan and Howard Arkley.
Melbourne is famed for their street art and Hosier Lane is one of Melbourne’s best examples of this work. Stroll along the laneway, opposite Federation Square, and take in murals, instillations and freshly painted street graffiti.
For something a bit different, the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) is one of only a handful of galleries dedicated to the moving image.
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National Gallery of Victoria
In the mood for some art? Perhaps rain is threatening over head? A top rainy day tip is to head to the National Gallery of Victoria, more commonly known as the NGV on St Kilda Road.
The primary collection at the NGV is their Australian art collection, comprising of a mix of Indigenous Australian Aboriginal art and artefacts, as well as a large selection of Australian colonial art, Australian Impressionist and modern and contemporary Australian art.
It also houses an important Australian photography collection as well as an international area that includes European painting, fashion and textiles, Asian art, Pacific art and Egyptian artefacts.
One of the galleries most prized pieces is a masterpiece by Correggio, one of the most influential figures of the Italian High Renaissance. The piece titled Madonna and Child with infant Saint John the Baptist is circa 1514-15 and was bought for $5.2 million as part of the NGV’s 150th birthday celebration in 2011.
There are a number of larger exhibitions throughout the year including the popular Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, which has seen works by Picasso and Salvador Dali on display.
I really enjoyed the photography and decorative art exhibits in this admission-free museum in Melbourne. It has great architectural and water displays as well. It's definitely one of the better museums I've visited and comparable to those of Paris or London.
Unlikely Art: Seeing the World from a Different Perspective
Melbourne’s “National Gallery of Victoria” is home to some incredible works of art. Not only does it have a fantastic permanent collection, it also hosts some of the world’s most incredible artists via its rotating guest exhibitions.
I happened to be in Melbourne during this incredible exhibit by Ron Mueck. His sculptures capture every tiny detail of the human body (down to the hair follicles) and play with scale. He takes things that we normally view as small (such as a newborn baby) and makes them huge and vice versa. It is a crazy, unlikely combination that really works. The detail of his work is almost eerie. There are times when you look at his sculptures and expect them to come to life at any second. Ron Mueck’s work is showcased around the world, so if you get a chance, you should definitely see it.
If you’re in Melbourne, don’t leave without making a stop at the National Gallery. It is located at 180 St. Kilda Road and is easy to reach by foot or tram.
I also recommend going up to the second floor to enjoy an afternoon tea while you’re there.
This museum is full of great stuff old and new. Everything from Italian masters to bears made of bright boa feathers. Search out the deer covered in crystal bubbles and the long hall topped with a massive stained glass ceiling. The museum is free and worth a couple of hours.
Founded in 1861, Australia’s oldest public art museum brings together one of the most impressive collections in the southern hemisphere. The three floors of excellent international art offer everything from the ancient to the contemporary, with highlights including an extensive Asian art section and an Oceanic gallery dedicated to Pacific indigenous cultures. To see the NGV’s Australian collection, head to the Ian Potter Centre at nearby Federation Square.