Italian Renaissance Alive on the Gold Coast

The beachside charm of the Gold Coast is getting the Renaissance treatment with the region’s major gallery, Home of the Arts (HOTA), exhibiting not “old master” paintings per se, but a series of multifaceted, immersive projections of works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli and Caravaggio, among many others.

With its huge scale, alongside subtle animation and various visual effects, Italian Renaissance Alive harnesses technology to display many familiar works in the Western canon in a three-dimensional setting (engineered by the team behind the popular Van Gough Live immersive exhibition in Melbourne).

“Aside from displaying works on a large scale, we relish the opportunity to guide the eye to details not noticed at first glance,” says Gary Moynihan, head of visitor experiences at Grande Experiences, the entity behind the show. “We focus on the artist’s technique and parts of the painting that are not celebrated, thus engaging the viewer and educating them beyond mere presentation.”

Creation of Adam (Michelangelo). Credit: Grande Experiences.

This multi-medium affair also features music—including operatic works by Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini—as well as literature, with an array of quotes and extracts from various writings about the period adorning the walls.

A further priority is centering some of the less ubiquitous figures from the Renaissance era. Alongside the aforementioned male masters are artists whose work has only been celebrated relatively recently. “One exciting area we deliberately include is work by artists such as Plautilla Nelli and Artemisia Gentileschi,” says Moynihan. “Female artists were relatively well-known and successful in their day, retaining studios, apprentices and clientele. But following their deaths most of them have been lost to time, with their works lost or misattributed. Until contemporary times, the visual arts have been considered the exclusive domain of men.”

Italian Renaissance Alive
HOTA Gallery
On now—4 August

This article was originally published in the May/June 2024 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Barnaby Smith