Key works such as the Master of Frankfurt’s Virgin and Child with Saint James the Pilgrim, Saint Catherine and the Donor with Saint Peter c.1496, Tintoretto’s Cristo risorgente (The risen Christ) c.1555, Picasso’s La Belle Hollandaise 1905 and Degas’s Trois danseuses à la classe de danse (Three dancers at a dancing class) c.1888–90 are included in a newly contextualised display.
Empire and image | Philip Bacon Galleries (Gallery 8)
Gallery 8 features a display of Collection works and objects including ceramics, textiles, furniture, photography and works on paper addressing the influences and exchanges that flowed between Britain, Europe and ‘the East’ during the colonial period.
The art works and objects on display in Gallery 8 offer a reflection on the impact of trade, colonialism, travel and tourism between Europe and Asia from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. This was a period of European expansion, exploration and enterprise around the world, with European powers conquering key Asian territories on the Indian subcontinent and in West and South-East Asia. Britain in particular became an enormously powerful imperial nation during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837–1901).
From the early sixteenth century, Portugal established trade routes to Asia, and later the Dutch and British East India Companies competed for trade in spices, coffee, silk, lacquerware, tea and porcelain. Indian Company paintings were produced for Company employees wanting to purchase souvenir images of India. Porcelain, produced in China and Japan for centuries, became a highly prized commodity in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The porcelain objects and printed earthenware on display reflect the popularity of Chinese design and ceramics in Europe and England.
Cartography was fundamental to navigation on long sea voyages. The map and celestial globe on display in Gallery 8 capture aspects of how European imperial nations mapped both the world and the heavens as they were understood at the time. The invention of photography in the mid nineteenth century dramatically changed the way that people saw the world. It quickly became a tool for communication and research, as well as the expression of political power. The photographs displayed were made when ideas of Empire were being consolidated across Asia, and they reflect a desire to record not only local ways of life but also the processes of modernisation.
© All rights reserved Pablo Picasso 2012 Australia
Gouache on cardboard mounted on wood | 77.1 x 65.8cm | Purchased 1959 with funds donated by Major Harold de Vahl Rubin | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Pablo Picasso, 1905/SUCCESSION PICASSO. Licensed by VISCOPY, Sydney 2004