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Degas and Manet’s stormy relationship is expressed in a portrait Degas painted of Manet and his wife, which has been slashed, presumably by Manet himself. Detail of Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet and Mme. Manet (1868-69) Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, via Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: When Manet met Degas

Edgar Degas’ relationship with Impressionism was to be a stormy one, but his encounter with Edouard Manet in 1862 was a turning-point in his career. Degas went on to paint a portrait of Manet and his wife - later slashed in mysterious circumstances.
Weiwei has taken Denmark to task for its asylum-seeker policy. Australia, for now, is another issue. EPA/Filip Singer

Ai Weiwei has pulled his work from Denmark – should Melbourne be next?

Weiwei has taken Denmark to task for its asylum-seeker policy. Given Australia's decision to return 267 asylum seekers to Nauru, he should surely consider pulling his current Melbourne exhibition.
The NGV’s summer blockbuster packs a double whammy. © Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol artwork © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

Andy Warhol – Ai Weiwei: the American and Chinese centuries meet in Melbourne

The NGV's summer exhibition is curated to create a dialogue between Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol, and this conversation operates on multiple levels on a variety of themes, and across time and space.
The viewer is asked to suspend disbelief and journey through the realms of the unconscious. James Gleeson. We inhabit the corrosive littoral of habit 1940. Oil on canvas. 40.7x51.3cm. © Courtesy of the artist’s estate

Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes – reviewed

Lurid Beauty is the first major examination of Australian Surrealism and its profound impact on Australian art from the 1930s to the present day. So how does it all hang together?
A new exhibition examines the meaning and enduring influence of the colour blue. National Gallery of Victoria

Feeling blue? Get acquainted with the history of a colour

Blue crops up in all sorts of idioms and registers. But, as a new National Gallery of Victoria exhibition demonstrates, there's more to the colour, and its long history, than meets the eye.
Who, exactly, was Catherine II, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia? Catherine II by Fyodor Rokotov. The Hermitage/ Wikimedia Commons.

Why Catherine the Great’s ‘greatness’ doesn’t grate

Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The legacy of Catherine the Great is currently on show at the National Gallery of Victoria. But who, exactly was Catherine II, the Empress of Russia?
From Siberia to Roebuck Bay – the godwits reach the mangrove swamps. John Wolseley, Western Australia (2012). © John Wolseley

John Wolseley, artist, emerges as a lyrical poet and a prophet

John Wolseley’s exhibition Heartlands and Headwaters, which opened last month at the National Gallery of Victoria, may be the most important exhibition about art and the environment to be held in Australia for a generation.
Jeff Wall, Untangling (1994, printed 2006), transparency in light box, AP 189.0 x 223.5 cm. National Gallery of Victoria

Art as Therapy? Art as Patriarchy!

Art as Therapy at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) promises to “challenge visitors to examine assumptions about themselves, society, and how art is viewed in galleries”. And it would be right…
Corrado Giaquinto, Italian 1703–1766, worked in Spain 1753–62, Allegory of Justice and Peace (Allegoria della Giustizia e della Pace) c.1753–54 oil on canvas, 216.0 x 325.0 cm. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00104), Spanish Royal Collection

Italian masterpieces from Spain in Australia? They brush up nicely

Nationalism is not always a good thing where understanding art is concerned, but in the case of Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Prado on show at the National Gallery of Victoria…

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