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December 1, 2023

Art lovers must see it! The National Palace Museum exhibition brings together 50 masterpieces by art giants and also offers an immersive interactive space.

From the Renaissance to the 20th century, several influential art masters were born one after another, leaving behind representative works that are still widely talked about in the art world today. The “From Botticelli to Van Gogh: Treasures from the National Gallery, London” exhibition, jointly organized by the Hong Kong Palace Museum and the National Gallery, takes art enthusiasts on a journey through over 400 years of Western art history.

The National Palace Museum’s “From Botticelli to Van Gogh: Treasures from the National Gallery, London” is divided into six thematic sections: “Religious Art,” “Mythology and Legends,” “Everyday Life,” “Portraits,” “Landscapes,” and “Modern Times.” It showcases a total of 52 masterpieces from the 15th to the early 20th century, created by 50 artists including Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, Turner, Constable, Monet, and Van Gogh. The exhibition covers significant turning points in art history, such as the Renaissance, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. The Hong Kong Palace Museum has also collaborated with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to present a series of musical performances that complement the different sections and themes of the exhibition, connecting classical music with these artistic masterpieces.

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Sandro Botticelli’s “The Three Miracles of St. Zenobius”

The exhibition highlights include Sandro Botticelli’s panel painting “The Three Miracles of St. Zenobius”, which is a later work of Botticelli. The artist shifted from his early decorative style to a more devout and minimalist technique. The painting depicts the three miracles of St. Zenobius, the bishop of Florence in the 5th century.

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    Vincent van Gogh’s “Field with Butterflies”

    As for Vincent van Gogh’s oil painting “Field with Butterflies” created in 1890, it uses emotions and expressiveness to control bright colors, with heavy and impactful brushstrokes. Titian’s “Portrait of a Lady” was painted in his early twenties, and this type of female portrait was quite rare in Venice at the time. Although the name of the female protagonist in the painting is unknown, she looks directly at the audience, exuding a strong personality.

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    (Left) Titian’s “Portrait of a Woman (Dalmatian Woman)”; (Right) Sir Thomas Lawrence’s “Portrait of Charles William Lambton (The Red Boy)”

    In addition to enjoying the collection of paintings, the exhibition also features an educational space called “Exploring the Secrets of Famous Paintings.” It focuses on the technical analysis of some of the exhibited masterpieces, introducing how the National Gallery uses scientific and restoration research to reveal the secrets hidden beneath the surface of the paintings that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This includes another painting behind the artwork and any modifications made by the artist. The educational space also displays rocks, minerals, and pigments, exploring the stories behind pigments such as vermilion, ultramarine, and malachite green, allowing the public to understand the art and scientific expertise behind the artist’s choice of pigments.

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    (Left) Pietro del Poletto’s “Apollo and Daphne”; (Right) Caravaggio’s “Boy Bitten by a Lizard”

    In addition, the exhibition features a media installation inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s work “Field with Butterflies”. In an immersive interactive space, butterflies seem to fly in the grass with the audience’s footsteps, allowing everyone to interact with art.

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    In order to reveal the creative process and little-known stories of legendary artists such as Raphael, Van Gogh, Monet, and others, the Hong Kong Palace Museum is also presenting six documentaries in conjunction with this exhibition, including “Van Gogh: Clouds and Wheat Fields Under the Brush”, “Monet’s Water Lilies: The Magic of Water and Light”, “Botticelli, Florence, and the Medici Family”, “Raphael: The Young Painter”, “Titian: The Rebel of Venice”, and “The Mysterious Impressionists”. The documentaries will be screened from January to April next year, and movie tickets will be available for purchase on the Hong Kong Palace Museum website starting from December 8, 2023. Don’t miss out if you’re interested.

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    From Botticelli to Van Gogh: Treasures from the National Gallery, London
    Date: From now until April 11, 2024
    Location: Exhibition Hall 9, Hong Kong Palace Museum

    Image source: The National Gallery, Hong Kong Palace Museum

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