Heroes and villains: Strutt's Australia / by patrick rodriguez

Recently I was asked by the state library to document their current exhibition at the Keith Murdoch Gallery; a retrospective by  artist William Strutt,  whose work encompasses the brutal fury of the Australian landscape and the human drama of life in the mid-19th century.

Strutt was a superb draughtsman and renderer of the human figure, whose ability to compose complex dramatic scenes is witnessed in large narrative works such as Black Thursday, February 6th, 1851 and The burial of Burke. The oil paintings, watercolours, portraits, prints, preparatory sketches and large-scale history paintings featured in the exhibition provide an unparalleled visual record of the hazards and hardships of colonial life, and demonstrate the meticulous approach of an academically trained artist.

This retrospective exhibition of Strutt's work  is curated by Matthew Jones, a curator in the Exhibitions Branch at the National Library of Australia; and brings together significant works from the extensive collections of State Library Victoria, the National Library of Australia and other major Australian collections.

Keith Murdoch Gallery , State LIbrary Victoria

14 July 2016–23 October 2016