Last Updated: September 20, 2014

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Country Living

A right royal treat at the NGV’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition

We sneak a peek at some of the artworks that will be on show in Melbourne as part of the

Masterpiece: Corrado Giaquinto’s Allegory of Justice and Peace. Source: Supplied

THIS year’s NGV Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, offers a rare chance to see some of the finest works of the Italian masters collected for the royal court of Spain from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

This is the most significant exhibition of Italian masterpieces ever to come to Australia.

VIEW: Check out our picture gallery from the masterpieces

Organised by the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, in association with the National Gallery of Victoria and Art Exhibitions Australia, the exhibition features some of the most outstanding works from prominent Italian artists, including Raphael, Titian, Correggio, the Carracci family and Tiepolo.

Seventy stunning paintings, some measuring over 3m in length, are presented alongside 33 exquisite drawings. The National Gallery of Victoria is the only venue to be showing these major pieces from the revered holdings of the Prado.

In fact, very few of these works have ever left Spain before, and this exhibition represents the largest number of Italian works the gallery has ever loaned to one exhibition.

Co-ordinating NGV Curator, Laurie Benson, says visitors will be captivated by the range and breadth of the works, and amazed by their “sheer scale and impact”.

“The exhibition reflects the varying tastes of the Spanish royal court whose kings and courtiers loved and admired Italian art and collected it en masse,” Mr Benson says.

“It tells a fascinating story of how tastes changed and developed over 300 years, and this is reflected in the astounding diversity of styles that you will see in the exhibition; from the High Renaissance art of Raphael to the spectacular, decorative works of late eighteenth-century artists, such as Tiepolo.

“Such is the scale of this exhibition that visitors will be able to trace the stylistic development of Italian art across three centuries, drawn from Italy’s key cultural centres, including Rome, Venice and Naples.” A wealth of engaging public programs has been developed to complement Italian Masterpieces, including talks, lectures, forums, performances and tours, as well as curated programs of film and music and programs designed for children and parents.

These will enable visitors of all ages to delve deeper into the fascinating stories of the artworks and the artists behind them.

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