25 Sep 2008

Picture Study in the City

One of the few problems with living in a small country town - apart from being so far from church, is finding teachers for skills like swimming, music lessons and the like.

The local pool offers two weeks of the marvellous VICSWIM programme in early January, but an unheated outdoor pool is not conducive to year round swimming lessons.

We decided to give Jemimah a head start in swimming this season with an extra week of VICSWIM in Melbourne this Spring, and have spent the last few days in the city taking advantage of this fantastic swimming programme.

The week in Melbourne has also allowed us to take advantage of other things a capital city has to offer, like the excellent Ian Potter Centre, which houses the National Gallery of Victoria's Australian art collection. Located in what I regard as a stunning building in Federation Square and consisting of twelve galleries over three levels, this centre houses one the finest and most comprehensive collections of Australian art in the world. The collection contains 20,000 works, and at any one time there are 1,800 on display in its 20 galleries.

Of course, we didn't visit all twenty galleries today - in fact we visited only two, on a hunt for original works of art by this term's artist, Tom Roberts. Widely regarded as one of Australia's best artists - and certainly one of the best known, Roberts was one of the Heidelberg School of Artists and painted widely in areas of Melbourne that we know well.

We generally follow Ambleside Online's excellent Art Rotation, but substitute one Australian artist each year.

Seeing Robert's original paintings added considerably to our study of his art. There is an incredible difference between an A4 sized picture of Shearing the Rams and the original 122.4 x 183.3 cm masterpiece! We had the opportunity to view a wide variety of this fine artist's works including portraits, landscapes and some of his famous cigarbox works.

We loved our visit - what an advantage city based kids have with this incredible resource on their doorstep! We'll be back...soon.

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