Today, Dr Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of NSW, unveiled Michael Zavros’ new painting The new Round Room. Through the inaugural Bulgari Art Award – Michael Zavros Wins New Bulgari Art Award – the work of one of Australia’s finest artists enters the Gallery’s collection. Dr Brand said “The Bulgari Art Award has enabled the Gallery to acquire an exceptional painting by Michael Zavros for our permanent collection. With Bulgari’s assistance we now have one of Michael’s most ambitious paintings and one that will create great interest.”
The new work is a large-scale, meticulously detailed painting of an interior of the Grand Trianon in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. The painting is mesmerising in its beauty and complexity. It exhibits both Zavros’ extraordinary technical skill and his fascination with the cultural achievements of the European aristocracy and the French ancien régime – the buildings, gardens and interiors created with unlimited wealth and power.
The Round Room is an exquisite 17th-century vestibule to the Grand Apartment occupied by Louis XIV. Zavros has painted a view from inside the room looking out through a window to the famous and flower-filled formal gardens which surround the Trianon ::::
The Art Gallery of New South Wales has unveiled its latest acquisition as part of an $80,000 award. Michael Zavros The new Round Room 2012, 210 × 167 cm, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2012.
Brisbane based artist Michael Zavros was announced as the inaugural winner of the Bulgari Art Award in April, and today his work, The new Round Room was revealed to the public. Zarvos’ large scale work depicts the interior of the 17th century round room at the Palace of Versailles, with views to the manicured gardens, set against a shiny modern bench press.
“That gym piece is like an icon of hubris or narcissism in a contemporary context and sort of thinking what a future sun king might decorate with or what those icons might be,” Mr Zavros says. ”It almost has a post apocalyptic kind of feel – that something has happened here. There’s a curious silence or an emptiness about it.”
Zavros says he felt the weight of expectation in finishing the painting since winning the award
“It has actually brought a whole different kind of pressure, just knowing that this painting has already won, that it has to stack up in a way,” Mr Zavros says. ”I don’t normally apply that pressure to what I do. But that’s good. Good things can come from that.”
But he says he is happy with the end result. ”I feel like I haven’t had a lot of distance from it. It was hurried down here a very short time ago. I think it’s dry.”
For new gallery director Dr Michael Brand, he says his first acquisition is a good one. “It’s a very challenging painting. It’s very much a painting of our times.” Dr Brand said. ”It’s a work that makes a lot of sense and looks fantastic in the old galleries, but will also be shown in other contexts with our Australian collection, with the contemporary collection in general.”
Dr Brand says one of his main aims will be to expand the Gallery’s collection. ”Building the collection is one of the biggest challenges which is another reason why today is such a happy day.”
The three year partnership between the Italian luxury jeweller Bulgari and the Gallery consists of a $50,000 acquisition and a residency for the artist in Italy worth $30,000.
source: art gallery of new south wales