James GILLRAY - The plumb-pudding in danger or State epicures,  1805 - hand-coloured etching 25.5 x 35.7 cm. - National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne - Felton Bequest, 1944

Melbourne, Vic. - This exhibition presents the Golden Age of satirical prints and drawings in Europe, focusing on the period 1730–1870. William Hogarth's images of London street life, with all its chaos and transgressions, set the stage for the next generation of English satirists including Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and George Cruikshank. On view until the 26th of July, 2009 at The National Gallery of Victoria.

Thomas ROWLANDSON - English A little bigger , 1790 - pen & coloured ink & watercolour over pencil - 29.8 x 27.8 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest, 1920Their audacious prints range from political satires that were aimed directly at prominent public figures, to scenarios that highlight fashions, fads and social manners as subjects of mockery. Because these prints reached a wide audience, they were a catalyst for gossip and debate, and influenced the public's views on issues of the day.

The exhibition also explores contemporary and subsequent satirical art in Spain and France. In 1799 the Spanish artist Francisco Goya published Los Caprichos, a series of etchings that express the values of the Enlightenment in their condemnation of prejudice, ignorance and superstition. In France the genre of visual satire had its greatest artist in Honoré Daumier, whose prints were widely circulated and enormously popular in the nineteenth century. Like all of the satirical works in the exhibition, these images reveal something about human nature, as well as commenting on historically specific situations and individuals.

Since 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria has been displaying art works for the enjoyment of the community. In the mid-1990s, the gallery acknowledged that its St Kilda Road building could no longer successfully meet the demands of its growing collection and extensive exhibitions schedule.

The Victorian State Government agreed to an extensive redevelopment of the site, and also contribute towards the funding of a second NGV building at Federation Square.

The Collection is split between The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, home of Australian art, and NGV International at St Kilda Road, the new redeveloped building dedicated to the gallery's magnificent international artworks. Our visitors have two wonderful NGV buildings dedicated to bringing art and people together. Visit : http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/

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Pause For Thought

Wilde on Art

"Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known."