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Exhibition Development

The Accademia Carrara, Bergamo, holds a magnificent collection of early Renaissance masterpieces, and a colleague mentioned that they were planning extensive renovations.

Paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Bellini, Mantegna and Perugino, had never been seen in Australia before and there had never been an exhibition of early Renaissance art in this country.

It was important for an exhibition on this subject matter to be shown in Australia as these two centuries of Italian art were the foundation of the grand tradition of European painting, which has been the subject of so many Australian exhibitions.


After researching the collection and taking with the team in Bergamo, we agreed to co-curate a Renaissance art exhibition for Australia.

The Accademia Carrara after its renovation

I travelled to Bergamo to finalised negotiations regarding the exhibitions fee and contract conditions and to refine the checklist with Giovanni Valagussa, Curator of the Accademia Carrara.  We arranged contract conservation staff to treat the works that required cleaning and other works needing reframing. The major works were prioritised so they could be photographed to meet the catalogue production schedule and a small group of works were digitally corrected for the catalogue.

While the freight and couriers had been pre-booked well in advance of the exhibitions transport, there were the expected last minute hold ups with the final export approvals and official paperwork

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JC Decaux was the exhibitions outdoor media partner and helped deliver a campaign to cover the Sydney, Brisbane & Melbourne markets 

I secured support from the Australian Government through the International Exhibition Insurance scheme and we secured San Remo Pasta as Exhibition Partner and NAB as Principal Partner. 


Nine Entertainment Company was confirmed as a Principal Partner and funding was received from the ACT Government through ACT Tourism for a national marketing campaign. Nine and ACT Tourisim were joined by the NGA's other print and outdoor media sponsors – and worked together as a large team to increase the exhibitions advertising impact, with a focus on Victoria, with the aim to reach the large Italian population in Melbourne.

For two weeks, coinciding with late night exhibition openings, images from Renaissance were projected onto the NGA building

Images from Renaissance were offered to the St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, for their Lights of Christmas project and with approval from the Accademia Carrara, six Madonna and Child paintings from the exhibition were projected over the Cathedrals 75m high iconic façade.

When the Renaissance exhibition closed, after 122 days, it had attracted 212,920 visitors from across Australia injecting an estimated $75 million into the ACT economy, making it the second most popular exhibition staged at the National Gallery of Australia in the previous ten years.

With 81% of visitors to the exhibition from outside the ACT, almost 20% of those visitors were from Melbourne and Victoria, representing the highest visitation we had ever received from Victoria for any previous major exhibition.

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Six Madonna and Child paintings from the exhibition, including Carlo Crivelli, Madonna and Child c.1482-3, were projected onto the 75m high iconic façade of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas

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