Bendigo Art Gallery is again set to be the envy of other regional galleries. Following hugely successful exhibitions such as Grace Kelly: Style Icon and Modern Love: Fashion visionaries from the FIDM Museum LA, gallery director Karen Quinlan has done it again with Genius and Ambition: The Royal Academy of Arts, London 1768-1918.
Back in 1768, an architect named Sir William Chambers went to see King George III armed with a petition signed by 36 artists and architects. They were requesting royal approval to set up a society for promotion of the arts, establish a school and to hold annual exhibitions. 245 years later, Britain's first art school and fine art library, The Royal Academy of Arts, is now home to an incredible collection of paintings, sculptures and historic books from the art world's biggest names.
Engraved illustrations from a 17th century book on display
Around 70 works created by now famous former students of the Royal Academy such as J.M. W. Turner, John Constable, John Everett Millais and Sir Joshua Reynolds are on loan, for the first time in Australia, and on show only in Bendigo. Not only are the paintings beautiful but their golden elaborate frames are themselves stunning works of art.
Sir James Jebusa Shannon, Black and Silver (1910)
And just as Australian artists still yearn to make it overseas, so did the likes of Arthur Streeton, Rupert Bunny, and William Dobell, all exhibiting at the Royal Academy. Thirty works from those Australians lucky enough to study and exhibit at the Royal Academy are also on display.
Arthur Streeton, Golden Summer Eaglemont (1889) The first painting by an Australian-born artist to be exhibited at the Royal Academy, London (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
This exhibition coincides with this month's launch of an 8.5 million dollar extension which has seen the gallery double in size to house their extensive and very impressive permanent collection.
Tickets for Genius and Ambition can be purchased online for $20.00 Adult / $16.00 conc. Photography is allowed (no flash).
Bendigo Art Gallery
Getting there: A day trip or weekend getaway to regional Victoria has never been easier. Heading north from Melbourne's Southern Cross Station, Bendigo is located in zone 13 on the new extended myki network. Gone are the V/Line paper tickets of the old days. You only need to 'touch on' in Melbourne before boarding an economy class service and 'touch off' at Bendigo, just like you would on a normal metropolitan service. Travel time is just under two hours. Just ensure your myki card has sufficient funds to cover the journey which the myki V/Line fare calculator can estimate for you.
From the station, the gallery is less than a 15 minute walk.
If travelling by car, the drive should take approximately 90 minutes via the Calder Freeway.