Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) was the exclusive Australian venue for the major exhibition ‘European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’. This was an extraordinary opportunity to experience these important works from one of the finest collections of European painting in the world, the majority of which rarely leave permanent display in New York.
The exhibition presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in which The Met — during the renovation of their galleries for European paintings — could share these masterpieces with the people in Australia. Max Hollein, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
‘European Masterpieces’ included portraiture, still-life, landscape and figure studies and was a must-see for art-lovers and anyone with an interest in history, society, beauty, religious iconography, mythology and symbolism.
LIST OF WORKS: Discover all the artworks
DELVE DEEPER: More about the artists and exhibition
THE STUDIO: Artworks come to life
Beginning in the 1420s, with a finely painted, emotionally charged altarpiece panel, The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico, and ending in 1919 with one of Monet’s late Water Lilies, a precursor to abstraction, ‘European Masterpieces’ is a remarkable survey of 500 years of European art featuring 65 paintings charting Western art history’s most iconic movements including Titian’s Venus and Adonis 1550s, Caravaggio’s The Musicians 1597, Rembrandt’s Flora c.1654, Vermeer’s Allegory of the Catholic Faith c.1670–72, Turner’s Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Salute c.1835, van Gogh’s The Flowering Orchard 1888, Renoir’s A Young Girl with Daisies 1889, Degas’ Dancers, Pink and Green c.1890, and Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples and Pears c.1891–92.
The exhibition traces the development of art and artists from a time when creativity was closely controlled through the patronage of church and state, to a period in which our contemporary idea of the independent artist was born. As this superbly representative historical account of European painting makes clear, artistic innovation – seen in works of art that have challenged and sometimes changed the world – is far from an invention of our time.
For the duration of ‘European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York’ enter The Studio, located within the exhibition space. The Studio offers an array of experiences whether through multimedia interactives or opportunities to draw from life. An immersive theatrical experience will transport you to historical Europe through the exhibition’s themes in distinct zones and vignettes. Draw using supplied materials and take inspiration from their surroundings to create your own work.
‘European Masterpieces’ publication
The full-colour 240pp hardback publication European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York was available in two special cover editions — either Caravaggio’s The Musicians 1597 (illustrated) or Marie Denise Villers with Marie Joséphine Charlotte du Val d’Ognes 1801.
This Australian-exclusive exhibition was at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art from 12 June until 17 October 2021 and organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and Art Exhibitions Australia.
Featured image detail: Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Italy c.1485/90–1576 / Venus and Adonis 1550s / Oil on canvas / 106.7 x 133.4cm / The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 / 49.7.16 / Collection: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.