See Italian Masterpieces at the NGV

And the winner for the longest ever exhibition title* goes to the NGV’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, Italian Masterpieces From Spain’s Royal Court Museo Del Prado. But even the world’s longest title can’t prepare you for the majesty of these stunning artworks.

It’s impossible to explain what it’s like to see the paintings in the ‘canvas.’ So we’ll just give you a bit of background and then some pretty photos. Please note that the photos do not come close to doing this exhibition justice and are only a small selection.

Here’s the boring bit (for a proper history, visit the exhibition).

So the big question is: why are Italian Masterpieces coming from Spain? Let’s break it down. This really rich family, aka the Royal Family of Spain, had a love of Italian art from the mid-sixteenth century, and amassed a stunning collection. The court continued collecting works from the best of Italy’s artistic centres, creating an overview of Italian art.

This is the first time these works have ventured out of Spain, and it’s a Melbourne exclusive, so this truly is a once in a life time opportunity. We’ll be going back more than once and recommend that you do, too.

Here’s the pretty bit. Enjoy.

Andrea di Lione Italian 1610–85 Elephants in a circus (Gli Elefanti in un circo) c.1640 oil on canvas 229.0 x 231.0 cm Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00091) Spanish Royal Collection

Andrea di Lione, Italian 1610–85, Elephants in a circus (Gli Elefanti in un circo) c.1640, oil on canvas, 229 x 231cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, (P00091), Spanish Royal Collection

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

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 x 325cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00104), Spanish Royal Collection

Bartolomeo Passarotti Italian 1529–1592 Head of a figure (Testa di una figura) 1560–70 pen and brown ink on blue paper 33.7 x 26.0 cm Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Fernández Durán Bequest, 1931 (D01781)

Bartolomeo Passarotti, Italian 1529–1592, Head of a figure (Testa di una figura) 1560–70, pen and brown ink on blue paper, 33.7 x 26cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Fernández Durán Bequest, 1931 (D01781), Spanish Royal Collection

Viviano Codazzi Italian c.1606–1670 Domenico Gargiulo (Micco Spadaro) Italian c.1609/10–c.1675 Perspectival view of a Roman amphitheatre (Vista prospettica di un anfiteatro romano) c.1638 oil on canvas 220.5 x 352.7 cm Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P02632) Spanish Royal Collection

Viviano Codazzi, Italian c.1606–1670, Domenico Gargiulo (Micco Spadaro), Italian c.1609/10–c.1675, Perspectival view of a Roman amphitheatre (Vista prospettica di un anfiteatro romano) c.1638, oil on canvas, 220.5 x 352.7cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, (P02632), Spanish Royal Collection

Raphael, Italian 1483–1520, Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose (Sacra Famiglia con san Giovannino o Madonna della Rosa) c.1517, oil on canvas, 103 x 84cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00302), Spanish Royal Collection

Raphael, Italian 1483–1520, Holy Family with Saint John or Madonna of the Rose (Sacra Famiglia con san Giovannino o Madonna della Rosa) c.1517, oil on canvas, 103 x 84cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P00302), Spanish Royal Collection

Jacopo Ligozzi (attributed to) Italian 1547–1627 A chimera (La chimera) c.1590–1610 pen and brown ink and brush and brown ink over black chalk, gold paint and white bodycolour 32.3 x 42.4 cm Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (D01657) Spanish Royal Collection

Jacopo Ligozzi (attributed to), Italian 1547–1627, A chimera (La chimera) c.1590–1610, pen and brown ink and brush and brown ink over black chalk, gold paint and white bodycolour, 32.3 x 42.4cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, (D01657), Spanish Royal Collection

Italian Masterpieces From Spain’s Royal Court Museo Del Prado opens today and will be at NGV International until the 31 August.

*There is no evidence that this claim is correct except for the ridiculously long title of the exhibition