Rare and iconic artworks by Baroque masters unveiled in world premiere exhibition

Hamilton Gallery today unveils the world premiere exhibition Emerging From Darkness: Faith, Emotion and The Body in the Baroque, presenting over 70 important works by world-renowned baroque masters, including several never-before-seen in Australia.

Drawn from the partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), as well as loans from the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) and private lenders from across the country, Emerging from Darkness will showcase rare and iconic works by the world’s most significant baroque artists including Artemisia Gentileschi, Peter Paul Rubens, Bartolomeo Manfredi, Guercino, Lavinia Fontana, Sofonisba Anguissola and Valentin de Boulogne. This collection of historical pieces, displayed together for the first time, will be exhibited alongside works by contemporary artists, Robyn Stacey and Angela Tiatia, who are active in the baroque style today.

One of the most ambitious exhibitions ever held in regional Australia, Emerging from Darkness explores the international movement that changed the course of art at the beginning of the 17th Century, unveiling new insights into the artists and how Baroque continues to influence contemporary art. The exhibition has been curated by Laurie Benson, Curator of International Art, NGV, Dr David Marshall, Assoc. Prof., University of Melbourne Culture & Communications, Dr Lisa Beaven, Senior Research Fellow, La Trobe University and Ian Brilley, Exhibitions and Collections Coordinator, Hamilton Gallery.

Highlights of the show include several paintings by 17th Century female artists who cathartically reinterpret experiences of violence and turmoil while simultaneously voicing strong, feminist messages of empowerment. Featured among these is the Lucretia (1630-5, Italy) by Artemisia Gentileschi, presented to the public for the first time in Australia.

On loan from the NGA is the Self-portrait (1623, Belgium) by Peter Paul Rubens. Arguably the most influential baroque artist working in Europe in the 17th Century and regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, Rubens’ masterpieces include religious and mythological paintings, royal portraits, eroticism, evocative landscapes and brutal battles scenes.

Featured among the loans from the NGV is The Martyrdom of St Lawrence by Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera, whose unfettered naturalistic approach epitomises how baroque artists treated Christian art.

Emerging From Darkness is a once in a lifetime opportunity for local residents and visitors to the Southern Grampians region to experience these and many other world-renowned baroque works, supported by the Victoria Government’s Regional Events Fund through Visit Victoria.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Steve Dimopoulos, says, “We’re proud to support Hamilton Gallery in this remarkable exhibition of baroque masterpieces, which is set to attract thousands of visitors to Hamilton and the region over the summer and school holidays.”

Minister for Creative Industries, Colin Brooks, adds, “For more than 60 years Hamilton Gallery has been supporting the creative and cultural life of the region. This latest exhibition is a great example of how our regional galleries punch above their weight and collaborate with others to present world-class exhibitions and activities.”

Tony Ellwood AM, NGV says, “Seen in the context of a sizable and thematic exhibition, this unprecedented loan of more than forty major works from the NGV’s Collection will provide visitors with fresh perspectives on this influential period of art history.”

Robyn Stacey, whose contemporary art is featured in the exhibition states, “In a bold curatorial gesture, the design of the exhibition showcases international baroque masters alongside a contemporary photographic interpretation of significant Australian objects and histories.”

Emerging From Darkness will be complemented by a symposium, a series of talks, tourism packages involving regional accommodation and food and wine experiences, and bespoke products including a coffee table publication. The publication, which includes a series of essays delving into the artists and their work, is available to purchase from the gallery.

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