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“Great Building”

National Gallery of Victoria
Ranked #5 of 410 things to do in Melbourne
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Opened in 1861, this is Australia's oldest art gallery.
Syracuse, Italy
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Building”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Building is beautiful and worth a visit in itself. East Asian art is a highlight. Rest of the art is okay... doesn't compare to Europe.

Visited February 2013
Thank C D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
“Melbourne’s cultural jewel that's so easily accessible”
Reviewed February 19, 2013

This monolithic structure with its dull, grey frontage wouldn’t be out of place in North Korea, but don’t let its ugly exterior put you off: It’s a lot more user-friendly once you get inside.

I went specifically to see the exhibition of Neo-Impressionist art called “Radiance” ($20 entrance fee for adults) but I also took the time to wander around the Asian and European galleries as well. It’s full of interesting artefacts and exhibits that have been carefully and thoughtfully laid out in an easy to follow style, with narrative panels on the walls. I especially liked the fact that the information provided dealt not only with the objects themselves but also the political and economic context in which the works were made. The huge wall chart showing the political developments in China in parallel with developments in the west was especially well presented and informative.

The gallery is a spacious and airy place, not overcrowded and perfect for just wandering around at your leisure.

The serious part of my visit was of course the exhibition of Neo-Impressionist art and I was not disappointed. It contained 72 paintings by all the luminaries of this movement which arose in Paris after the debacle of the Franco-Prussian War and the chaos that followed. The main artists featured included Georges Seurat, Theo van Rysselberghe, Max Luce, Henri Cross and the eventual leading light and driving force behind the movement, Paul Signac. I took the free tour which started at 2.15pm. Our guide, Sue, was pleasant, entertaining and knowledgeable and her tour was conducted in a relaxed and informal style. I especially liked the fact that she took the trouble to cover at least a third of the paintings in the exhibition rather than just a few.

But if all you want to do is browse the permanent collection then there is no charge to enter. There are no cloaking charges either which makes a pleasant change from the London galleries where a 2 pound or more charge for storing just one bag is “de rigueur”.
Even if you’re only in Melbourne for a few days, I wouldn’t miss this attraction, especially since it’s so easy to access. You can get here on foot from Fed Square – it’s about 15minutes at a leisurely pace - or the free red shuttle bus passes by here as well on its circuit around the city. And that of course is the joy of visiting Melbourne. Everything is accessible, and this attraction is no exception.

Visited February 2013
Thank Artfornodriving
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2013

what's not to like, it's free, right across from beautiful gardens, easy to get to and FREE! You do have to pay for the special exhibition though.

Visited July 2012
Thank Jess P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
78 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Ever changing”
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Love a visit to the gallery as it is always different. Great to have a couple of hours there before a show. Took my teenagers last visit & even they had a really lovely day

Visited October 2012
Thank Lynn R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woking, England
Level Contributor
155 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Always worth a visit.”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Seen a couple of exhibitions here, well laid out and documented. Good staff and plenty of space to relax.

Visited January 2013
Thank PW24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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