The Ballarat fine art gallery is an impressive institution, with well informed staff and a surprising collection. I knew that it is the largest regional gallery in the country, but I was still not prepared for the extent and quality of the works on display.
I’m going to write separate posts for the 19th century and 20th century works. The 19th century works on display were beautiful, particularly these below. Three themes of 19th century art are evident in these works: orientalism, classicism and a growing sense of realism.
Nicholas Chevalier, ‘Buddha’s renunciation’, 1884
Karl Theodor von Piloty, ‘Beneath the arena’, 1860-1880
I see orientalism evident in this amazing work, which makes the forest near Mount Dandenong look like the deepest tropical wilderness or a page from Where the wild things are. It’s a prehistoric wonder found at the end of the world filled with bright crimson birds.
Edward Roper, ‘In fern tree gully, Mount Dandenong’, c 1867
Hugh Ramsay, figure study, not dated