Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court

Italian Masterpieces at NGV International

I love the idea of exposing my children to art and have been taking them along for the ride ever since they were newborns.  While the Italian Masterpieces might not be as playful as more contemporary art, there is plenty for children to question and admire – and (it turned out) amuse.  

When:  Until 31 August 2014

Where:  NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road MELBOURNE

Cost:  Adults $26, child $10, family (2 adults + 3 children) $65


The rich colours, incredible imagery, the grand scale and the stories of the paintings and the artists makes the Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Prado a wonderful introduction to Italy’s rich artistic history for any age.  You may have not had a chance to travel to Spain’s Prado Museum with your children (or if you have then this is your chance to get another look) but thankfully the amazing team at the NGV have pulled off another art collection tour coup and brought it to our doorsteps.

Before we ventured into the NGV to see the Italian Masterpieces we got our hands on a copy of the accompanying publication Master the Arts! A Kids’ Activity Book about Italian Masterpieces.  This is a fantastic book which my two have poured over before and after our visit; what a great way to talk about the exhibition before we went (and at $14.95 this 100+ page activity book is great value).

My youngest has just turned 6 and he’s filled with energy, so getting him to stop and contemplate is no mean feat.  Thankfully the NGV has a Kids Video Guide which you can hire for $5 from the ticket desk, for us it was a sound investment.  Both children were glued to their video guides – hopefully some of the back story and curious tales about the artists and their subjects resonated (I was just happy to see them absorbed, still and relatively quiet).  With regular screen shots of the artworks throughout the Video Guide the children could easily navigate themselves around each gallery space and listen to the accompanying commentary.   Within each gallery there was extra interactive technology that visitors could use (which included music from the era) as well as the kid specific labels for a number of the works.

We moved through the exhibition in just under an hour – true art connoisseurs would need much longer than this, and if this is the case for you I’d ensure to employ the assistance of a second adult who could take the kids for a roam around the rest of the NGV with a pass out.  There is so much to see at NGV International, including Paola Pivi and Draw Act, for families – so make sure you put aside a full day to make the most of it!

Why is this exhibition so special?  Well if you love art this is a special opportunity, the Italian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Prado presents a rich selection of paintings and drawings spanning three hundred years of Italian art, from the early sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Many of these paintings are at the heart of the Prado’s collection and have never before left Spain.

What got them giggling?  Cherubs and angels feature in quite a bit in Roman and Greek mythology and all those little bare bottoms had my two in fits of giggles.  {Cue: me rolling eyes.}

We have a family pass valued at $65, plus one copy of Master the Arts! A Kids’ Activity Book about Italian Masterpieces, to give away to one lucky family!

Congratulations to Emma Wright who won this prize.