Even before you arrive here, you are guaranteed to be swept off your feet: a massively enlarged version of Alfred Burton’s Milford Sound: Cascade from Mitre wittily tumbles down the steps to Level 4. You must bravely navigate the cascade, as a real treat awaits you! Best painting? This must be Strutt!Read more

One hundred and twenty five years ago, in a cornfield of raucous crows, Vincent van Gogh shot himself. On 15 October I am exploring the Van Gogh phenomenon in a public lecture, ‘Starry, starry night: looking at Vincent van Gogh’, Soundings Theatre, 6 pm. This is being presented on behalfRead more

Posh ignorance vs. best practice Art historians and curators can be obstinately wrong and obtuse even about great masterpieces. A notorious example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490) which should really be called Lady with a Ferret, but posh ignorance prevails. The best practitioners in theRead more

With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like –Read more

Mad for Rossetti ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Even the name is extravagant, evoking Italy’s greatest poet and the angel of the Annunciation. It well suited Rossetti, for he was an extravagant man – in his art, in his poetry and in his emotions. Brilliant, witty, generous and loyal, he was irresistibleRead more

The English painter John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876)  was a fascinating and brilliant enigma to his contemporaries, and remains so today. He was certainly no pompous, verbose Victorian bore. At a dinner of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, Lewis delivered a memorable presidential address, rising from his seat, saying nothing,Read more

Nau mai ki te ao mārama, Pirinihi Hārata! Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, and may you prove a worthy spare for the heir, and a mini-feminist in your own right! The arrival of a baby daughter to the most famous woman in the world with an artRead more

                    Sir, I realise that your punishing royal itinerary regrettably prevents any visit to these far-flung shores during Nga Toi Season 4. Nor does our digital technology as yet permit a truly intimate interaction with the delightful art works discussed below. However, I trust that this blog goes some wayRead more

Feb. 14 is nigh!  A valid reason To commemorate the season Of love and matters of the heart As expressed in works of art, Chosen from our fine collection And brought to you, with much affection! The Valentine card in the form that we send (and hopefully receive) today onlyRead more

Seasonal Treasures from Te Papa In global terms, Aotearoa New Zealand is not a religiously observant nation. But we have long taken pride in being a tolerant one. Many of us thoroughly enjoy our Santa parades, carol services and, among cultural enthusiasts, full-on performances of Handel’s Messiah. It is difficultRead more

By the Art Curators at Te Papa: Sarah Farrar, Athol McCredie, Lissa Mitchell, Chelsea Nichols, Justine Olsen, Rebecca Rice, Mark Stocker and Megan Tamati-Quennell The recent passing of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, CNZM, (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kurī, Te Aopōuri, Pākehā), the national museum’s Head of Arts & Visual Culture, leaves not only TeRead more