Over the years, the skull has fascinated generations of artists. The Art Gallery of Ballarat proudly presents Romancing the Skull , a look at the skull in art and why we continue to be so enamoured with this iconic symbol.
The exhibition runs from Saturday 14 October 2017 to Sunday 28 January 2018 and explores a range of themes, including the skull as a reminder of our mortality, the use of the skull in addressing social and political issues, and the skull and crossbones as a symbol of piracy and rebellion.
Skulls are an important symbol in Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. Running from 1 October to 2 November each year, the holiday focuses on gatherings to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.
Prints by Mexican artists Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) have become synonymous with Day of the Dead and his Calaveras (skull figures) are now part of Mexican popular culture. More than twenty of his iconic prints will be introduced to Australian audiences for the first time as part of this exhibition.
Other highlights of the exhibition include a Nuremberg Chronicle dating from 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images and works by contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green, Ben Quilty and specially commissioned works by Fiona Hall, Reko Rennie and Sally Smart.
Australian artist Shaun Gladwell's Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year is also on show. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is the first Australian gallery to present this remarkable experience. it is free with exhibition entry, but it is essential to book a timed ticket to experience this work.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is Australia's oldest regional gallery with a fabulous collection of Australian art. The heritage-listed Gallery building is one of the oldest purpose-built art galleries in the country. Admission to the Art Gallery is free and includes the permanent collection and most temporary exhibitions. Some special exhibitions (such as Romancing the skull) incur an entry fee as mentioned above.
The Gallery is open daily from 10am – 5pm.
Ballarat is just an hour and 15 minutes west of Melbourne - 110km along the Western Freeway.
Or jump on a train from Melbourne's Southern Cross station, to arrive at the 19th-century Railway station right in the centre of town in less than 90 minutes.
Visit Ballarat can provide you with plenty of information to make the most of your visit to this historical gold mining town.