The Goldie aglow with Italy’s Renaissance masters

Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio and other great masters – HOTA Gallery’s stunning new digital immersive exhibition transports you to the rebirth of art that was the Italian Renaissance

Apr 02, 2024, updated Apr 02, 2024
Immerse yourself in the work of the masters at Italian Renaissance Alive at HOTA Gallery on the Gold Coast.

Immerse yourself in the work of the masters at Italian Renaissance Alive at HOTA Gallery on the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast has never been famous for Renaissance art … until now.

HOTA Gallery in Surfers Paradise (the country’s largest regional gallery) has just opened Italian Renaissance Alive, a vibrant symphony of light, colour and sound featuring the works of some of the greatest Italian Renaissance masters.

Well, not their actual works because this is a virtual exhibition, a digital immersion that is on at the gallery until August.

I’ve seen a couple of these virtual tributes to past masters and they have left me pretty cold. Projecting famous artworks onto a wall and playing a bit of classical music doesn’t really cut it for me. The last show like this I saw was held in what was basically a giant shed at North Shore, Hamilton, by the Brisbane River. It was underwhelming.

Italian Renaissance Alive is a similar concept, but it works. Why?

For a start the projections are better (everything is clear and brilliant) and it is beautifully curated with a soundtrack that works perfectly – Italian opera swelling around you as you browse.

Where artworks cover the walls, as they do in part, they are recreated on vinyl with clear and colourful results. If I had to find a word to describe the whole thing it would be … classy.

Maybe it helps that the exhibition features arguably the most significant artistic period in history, from the 14th to the 17th century, and it explores some of the most notable masterpieces from famed  artists including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Caravaggio.

Explore Michelangelo’s breath-taking Sistine Chapel (you get an eyeful of that on the way in), Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa (bigger than usual!) and The Last Supper. Then there’s Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (there’s a selfie opportunity with this one – you can take a “Bottiselfie” according to gallery director Susi Muddiman) and other glorious works by Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, Veronese and others in an awe-inspiring, large-scale, immersive experience.

Italian Renaissance Alive is unlike anything we have presented here at HOTA Gallery,” Muddiman says, adding that the exhibition explores and celebrates “the rich artistic and cultural influences that inspired some of the world’s most iconic masterpieces”.

Accompanied by an compelling Italian operatic score featuring works by Puccini and Verdi, this multisensory experience is a visual and auditory feast that aims to captivate, educate and entertain.

I can report that it does all that and more. This is the Australian premiere of this exhibition from Grande Experiences, the creators and producers of the multisensory experience Van Gogh Alive, which was a big hit.

Grand Experiences owns and operates THE LUME in Melbourne, the world’s largest digital immersive art gallery, and they obviously know what they are doing. I found Italian Renaissance Alive quite enchanting and I was pleased to see detailed didactic panels giving background on the artists and a bit of history and context.

HOTA Gallery has designed a program of events around the exhibition and there will be, among other things, oil painting masterclasses with well-known artists including Michael Zavros, who was originally a Gold Coast local.

Visitors can also treat themselves to an exclusive Italian Renaissance Feast by Palette Restaurant, featuring Italian television personality and author, Silvia Colloca, kicking off the evening with a Q&A and drink on arrival, with tickets on sale in the coming weeks.

Held inside the exhibition space – a unique opportunity not offered in traditional exhibition settings – this inimitable dining experience will include a four-course feasting-style menu paired with Italian wines, set at long tables throughout the exhibition so guests can marvel at the awe-inspiring works. How decadent.

For those wanting to transport their taste buds during the exhibition period, HOTA’s Palette Restaurant will also offer patrons the choice of a tasting menu inspired by history’s most artistic period, while playing homage to the generosity of Italian food culture.

Menu highlights include Hervey Bay scallops, Australian Bay Lobster souffle, Moreton Bay cuttlefish, Uovo in raviolo, bistecca angus, kangaroo grass flour cozetti (a house-made pasta made with native flour) and Tuscan marble dessert. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the menu when I visited and it is tantalising, to say the least.

If you haven’t been to HOTA Gallery, Italian Renaissance Alive is a fine starting point. The gallery is an amazing attraction, a destination in itself, one that has become the heart and soul of the Gold Coast’s cultural life.

And it’s cheaper than going to Italy, right?

Grande Experiences’ Italian Renaissance Alive continues at HOTA Gallery, Surfers Paradise, until August 4.

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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