Sunday, January 04, 2009

Out and about: the National Portrait Gallery

What a lazy, lovely week we've had with Carl home. Thank you Carl's work for deciding that all non-essential staff did not need to be in the office between Christmas Eve and today! We had a couple of lovely outings, including a visit to Australia's newest national institution, the National Portrait Gallery, which opened in December.

We parked adjacent to the National Gallery of Australia and sauntered through the Sculpture Garden on our way to the marvellous new gallery. I was quite taken with the heads in the pond!

Romily and Tristan checked out the sculptures on the other side of the gangway.
Then we spotted this lovely chrome sculpture. Romily didn't know what to make of it, so Carl showed her that if you knocked on it, a sonorous clanging sound was produced, adding depth to the reflective properties of this rather large work.
She was a bit shy, hanging back and letting Daddy do it!

A lovely eucalypt-lined walkway down to the lake (and I do realise I've used 'lovely' three times in this post already!)
And finally we made it to the front entrance:
It's a beautiful piece of architecture - especially the use of Australian timber throughout.Unfortunately I can't show you any of the artworks, as no photography is allowed. But if you want to check it out, here's the website. There are works by masters old and new, and portraits in many different media, including video installations. It's great to see so much more of the collection on display than was available in its previous location in Old Parliament House.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to go back without kids one day - Rom was very well behaved, but a 3yo can only take so many paintings and photographs of people she doesn't know! I don't know why they don't include a special interpretive area for kids so that they can get a better understanding of what art is all about. It's definitely not a kid-friendly venue. If our country truly wants to nurture the artists of the future, it's about time the government funded some better children's programs. Nuff said!

Carl's back to work tomorrow, more's the pity. So it's back to our normal routine folks. Stay tuned for sporadic crafting news!


Kristie said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time with the family! Such beautiful photos!

anne bebbington said...

When we lived in France and the kids were 9,6&5 we took them to Lille one day to the Palais Des Beaux Arts as I wanted them to see BIG paintings - I'll never forget Nick's comment when viewing a huge canvas depicting the crucifixion painted by a Flemish artist - "Mummy, why are those people all crying when he comes back to life again?" I remember being quite choked by his simple comprehension of the picture in front of him - it obviously struck him quite forcefully. Our discussion about their viewpoint from that moment in time stays in my mind so vividly. All kids should have the chance to look at such things regardless of their age and museums and galleries could do far more to encourage it

Chookyblue...... said...

sounds like a lovely day out....if I ever get back to Canberra I will have to check it out........

Dianne said...

Isn't the National Gallery a treasure? And the sculpture garden is a real treat, too. I laughed at Romily hanging back while Carl knocked on the sculpture!

I also love those giant metal pears at the entrance.

Looks like it's time for DH and me to make another trip to Canberra!

Kylie said...

I wanted to make it to the Portrait Gallery while I was in Canberra, but time got away from me. You're picture of the gum tree lined walk bought back memories - that was my aisle when I got married. DH and I tied the knot down the end, near the lake! Thank you for bring such a lovely memory back to me.

Gabrielle said...

The portrait gallery looks fun, we must get there too sometime. Glad to hear that you had such a nice christmas. Beautiful photos of Romily and Tristan. Best wishes for a lovely 2009!