National Gallery of Victoria’s exciting new Ancient World gallery showcases works from ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Italy and Mesoamerica. Situated on Level 2 of NGV International, in the heart of the Gallery’s permanent collections, the collections are displayed across three areas, encompassing Mesoamerica, The Classical World and Egypt and the Near East. The two corridor cases that flank the gallery feature representative tomb groups from West Mexico and ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egyptian objects are some of the earliest works to have entered the NGV’s collection and in the early twentieth century the Gallery received regular divisions of objects from British excavations in Egypt. Many of the objects still bear their grave numbers inscribed by the excavators. NGV’s Greek and South Italian vase collection constitutes one of the finest collections in the country, having been developed under the expert advice of Professor Dale Trendall.
The pre-hispanic civilisation of Mesoamerica stands with Egypt and Mesopotamia as one of the world’s great early civilisations. For over three thousand years, a number of cultures flourished and produced extraordinary works, many depicting the human world and the natural forces that shape its affairs. Most of the stunning Mesoamerican ceramic, shell and stone objects that are on display were created to accompany the honoured dead to the afterlife.