Heads Up

Heads up: Masterpieces from the Hermitage, NGV 31 July-8 November, 2015

More than 500 works from the collection of Russian Empress Catherine the Great will travel to Australia in July. Collected during her reign (1762-1796) the exhibition includes works from artists such as Rembrandt, Velasquez, Rubens and Titian and examples of Van Dyck, Snyders, Teniers and Hals.

Catherine’s reign is remembered for her exceptional patronage of the arts, literature and education. She saw herself as a reine-philosophe (philosopher Queen), a new kind of ruler in the Age of Enlightenment. She amassed some of the finest contemporary art of the 18th century as well instructing her agents to hoover-up as many of the best old masters as they could get their hands on.

The exhibition will feature four paintings by Rembrandt and will also include 80 drawings by artists including Poussin, Rubens, Clouet and Greuze.

Decorative arts will be also brought to Australia for this exhibition, including 60 items from the Cameo Service of enamel-painted porcelain made by the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory in Paris. Commissioned by Catherine for her former lover and military commander, Prince Grigory Potemkin, the dinner service features carved and painted imitation cameos, miniature works of art, based on motifs from the French Royal collection.

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