A detail from Vincent Van Gogh’s, Olive grove with two olive pickers, December 1889 Saint-Rémy, oil on canvas 73.3 x 92.2 cm.
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo © Collection Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands
The pickers and sinewy olives in this painting all strain upward towards the hope of spiritual salvation. But six months after he completed it, Vincent Van Gogh walked out into a wheat field and shot himself.
Detail of Brook Andrew, Sexy and dangerous 1996.
courtesy National Gallery of Victoria
A 20th-century image of an anonymous 'Aboriginal Chief' becomes an investigation of power, colonialism and queer sexuality in the hands of Brook Andrew.
Part of Auguste Rodin’s Pierre de Wissant, monumental nude,
Our empathy for the anguished subject of this sculpture is heightened because although cast in bronze he is so tantalisingly human.
Detail of Judy Watson, black ground (1989) courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria.
© Judy Watson/Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia
Judy Watson pours ochre and pigment onto unstretched canvases laid on the ground. The puddling and drying created an image of a simple termite mound with a profound connection to country.
Summer in the you beaut country, John Olsen, 1962.
Courtesy National Gallery Victoria, © John Olsen
A yellow line becomes a blistering ray of sunlight in Summer in the You Beaut Country. John Olsen's paintings, often described as 'quintessentially Australian', teem with life.
Mike Parr’s performance work ‘Jackson Pollock the female’ is part homage and part sabotage.
National Gallery of Australia
Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles is one of Australia's most famous cultural acquisitions. When Mike Parr lay supine before it, streaked with his own blood, he offered a new way of looking at the act of painting.
Janet Laurence’s new installation Deep Breathing: Resuscitation for the Reef.
As scientists make a renewed push for greater action on climate change, a new installation at the Australian Museum brings home the fragility of our world.
‘Everything is sharply defined; we can even count his freckles.’
Detail of Diane Arbus, Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C., 1967. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia
In 1967, as flower children across America marched against the Vietnam war, Diane Arbus chose to photograph a young man wearing a 'Bomb Hanoi' badge. What did she capture, about the boy and the time?
Detail of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi Country – Topway 2016.
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Collection Image courtesy Alcaston Gallery © The Estate of the Artist and Viscopy Australia
Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori began painting in her 80s, and over ten years created an extraordinary body of work. Her paintings are more like music and dance – depicting the stories of the Kaiadilt people for the first time.
Degas beautifully captured women in private moments.
Detail of Edgar Degas, Woman seated on the edge of the bath sponging her neck c. 1880–95, Musée D’Orsay, Paris
Edgar Degas was fascinated with women's bodies. Whether dancing, ironing or bathing, he captured these intimate moments with a voyeur's detached scrutiny.
William Barak’s Ceremony has sold at auction to an unknown buyer.
Can you repatriate a painting? Descendants of Aboriginal painter William Barak ran a crowdsourcing campaign to try to buy back the previously unknown artwork Ceremony.
Cindy Sherman was the subject, costume designer, make-up artist and photographer for the large-scale images showcased in a new retrospective.
Detail: Untitled #466. Image courtesy of Cindy Sherman and Metro Pictures, New York
Cindy Sherman understands how people perform for the camera. Her art is a portrait of human vulnerability.
Why is Whistler’s mother one of the most persistently famous images in the world?
James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in grey and black no. 1 (Portrait of the artist's mother) 1871. Image courtesy of the NGV.
Whistler's Mother, which arrives in Melbourne on March 25, is one of the most famous portraits in the world. But James Whistler never wanted the sitter's identity known.
Casuarina trees were the perfect metaphor for Blumann’s life and the state of the world.
Detail from Elise Blumann, On the Swan, Nedlands, 1942, Oil on composition board, 55.6x66.4cm. University of Western Australia.
Casuarina trees and the tortured forms of the Melaleucas on the foreshore of the Swan River were the perfect metaphor for Blumann's life and the world before and during the second world war.
Guy Grey-Smith’s Rottnest connects strongly to the land.
Detail from Guy Grey-Smith, Rottnest, 1954-57, oil on canvas, 61.2x76.5 cm (h,w), The University of Western Australia Art Collection, Tom Collins Bequest Fund, 1957, © The University of Western Australia
Guy Grey-Smith's painting showcases the insistent rhythms of the indigenous vegetation and the rolling, flowing movements that take our eye meandering across the landscape and back towards the horizon.
Why is this seemingly unintelligible mess of house paint revered as a masterpiece?
Detail: Jackson Pollock. Blue poles. 1952. © Pollock-Krasner Foundation/ARS
Gough Whitlam’s government paid $A1.3 million for Jackson Pollock's Blue poles in 1973. But why exactly is this 'seemingly unintelligible mess of house paint' revered as a masterpiece?