First international touring show by London's National Gallery was put on hold for a year, due to Covid-19, but now the artwork will be shown in a whole new light.

Screengrab of AP footage, various of crowds of people looking at the artworks, March 3 2021.
Screengrab of AP footage, various of crowds of people looking at the artworks, March 3 2021. (AP)

The National Gallery of Australia is exhibiting paintings by some of Europe's most famous and admired artists.

"Botticelli to Van Gogh" is the first major exhibition in Australia since international borders closed last year.

It's also the first international touring show London's National Gallery has ever done.

The showcase was put on hold for a year but now the artwork will be shown in a whole new light.

From England to Australia. Masterpieces from the National Gallery in London are being showcased at the National Gallery in Canberra.

"This really is a roll call of the most important artists of western art history," says one of the gallery's curators Sally Foster.

The exhibition is a grand tour of the seven defining periods of European art history - starting in the renaissance and exploring the influence of religion on art.

Painters like Uccello and Botticelli take the viewer into the heart of 15th century Italy.

Dutch art of the golden age is explored - Rembrandt's striking self-portrait inviting the visitor to look into the eyes of the artist.

"It's really one of the most important paintings in the National Gallery of London's collection," says Foster.

The journey continues with some of history's most revered artists.

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'Incredibly compelling'

"Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, all these names. Cezanne, Renoir," says Foster.

But in a collection of masterpieces, there's one work that truly stands out - "Vincent Van Gogh - there's something about those sunflowers that even if you've seen them before or you've looked at his work before there's really something incredibly compelling about these paintings." claims Foster.

This show was delayed by a year due to Covid-19 - creating a logistical nightmare for organisers who had to treat the art with extreme caution.

"Every single step of the way has been carefully orchestrated from the crating to the transportation to when the works arrive in the building and how they're then put on the walls," says the gallery's Director Nick Mitzevich.

But in that time, a $3.8 million (five million Australian dollar) renovation on the temporary exhibition space has been completed. It's designed to make sure each piece is lit to perfection.

"Many of the works look like they've just stepped out of the artists studio because they're lit by the best technology available," says Mitzevich.

"Many people will have travelled to London they would have gone through those galleries and the National Gallery but they've never seen them here in Australia and displayed like we've displayed them," says Foster.

The exhibition runs until the middle of June.

READ MORE: Tate exhibition looks back on Van Gogh's early years in London

Source: AP