Regional exclusive Baroque exhibition signals vision, drive and potential

Hamilton Gallery’s world-class Baroque exhibition, 'Emerging From Darkness', reveals much about the vision and ambition of regional cultural tourism with strong partnerships.
Hamilton Gallery Director Joshua White next to 'Lucretia' by Artemisia Gentileschi, installation view in Emerging From Darkness: Faith, Emotion and The Body in the Baroque at Hamilton Gallery. Photo: Madi Whyte. A figure with short brown hair, glasses and brown beard wearing a collared shirt and blazer stands next to a large painting depicting a women, half nude, sitting at the edge of her bed and gazing up.

Located in the heart of Victoria’s south-west is Hamilton, a thriving regional centre built on generations of farming and a renowned wool industry. It’s a stone’s throw to the Grampians National Park, and even closer to Victoria’s most recently active volcano, Mount Napier. Now, the city is also hosting what is described as one of the most ambitious regional exhibitions, Emerging From Darkness: Faith, Emotion and The Body in the Baroque, at Hamilton Gallery.

Emerging From Darkness presents over 70 rare and world-renowned Baroque masterpieces thanks to a unique partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), with loans from the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) and private lenders. Such include Artemisia Gentileschi’s Lucretia (c.1625), never before exhibited in Australia, or even known to be in the country; the NGV’s 2022 acquisition, Mystic marriage of Saint Catherine (1574-1577) by Lavinia Fontana, widely regarded as the first woman to become a professional painter in Europe; and Peter Paul Rubens’ Self-portrait (1623), a prized and rarely loaned work from the NGA.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. Most recently she took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne.