Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great


Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria – until 8th November 2015


Catherine’s Bad Girl Reputation 

Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia has had very bad press for over 300 years.

She was the most renowned and the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning for 34 years until her death in 1796 at the age of 67.

But ask the average Russian what he knows about her and he will smirk and say Catherine was debauched and is mostly known for having countless lovers, usually from the ranks of her young army officers.

So why has the NGV decided to mount an exhibition dedicated to her?

Catherine: Art Collector Extraordinaire

Because in fact, Catherine was one of the most enlightened and powerful leaders of Europe in the 18th Century. Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great  showcases some of the works she sourced and commissioned to create one of the world’s greatest art collections in history. Catherine is said to have wanted to have the greatest expression of man’s genius all under one roof. So she constructed palaces to house her ever-growing collections. She called these pavilions the Hermitage, and so began her great legacy of what today is the renown Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

The NGV, in conjunction with the Hermitage, is now showing the largest collection of her treasures ever to be exhibited outside Russia. It includes Rembrandt, Rubens, Velazquez and Van Dyke.  This is the finest group of Dutch and Flemish art to come to Australia. Amongst the 400 masterpieces from her personal collection are paintings, sculptures, drawings, porcelain, silver and precious gems.

From Teenage Bride To Empress

A German-born princess, Catherine at the age of 14, was married to the heir to the Russian throne. After a coup in 1762 in which her husband Tsar Peter lll was murdered, Catherine took his place on the throne. She then proceeded to drag Russia from a cultural and political backwater to an imperial power. Ably assisted by Grigory Potemkin, who was both her lover and her political partner, she pushed back the Ottoman empire, established a Russian presence on the Black Sea and extended the Russian empire to Alaska.

Empress Catherine And The Enlightenment

Largely self-educated, she oversaw a period of cultural renaissance in Russia. She was an innovative thinker and dedicated to education, the arts and culture. She sought the advice of Diderot, the most powerful art critic of the time about which art works to amass. In a period of only 10 years, she siphoned into Russia 1,800 paintings and 40,000 written volumes – including the greatest European and Asian achievements in architecture, design, art and literature and transformed the imperial capital St.Petersburg, into an international centre of enlightenment.

Catherine corresponded for 15 years with Voltaire, one of France’s pre-eminent Enlightenment philosophers, about the ideas that were re-shaping Europe. Her ideals of abolishing serfdom and ensuring the equality of all citizens under the law were ahead of her time, but she was powerless to overcome the opposition of the nobility who were determined to keep their slaves. However, she achieved numerous other reforms, including the introduction of paper money and the modernisation of Russia’s education system.

There is an excellent biography ‘Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair’  written by Simon Sebag Montefiore. Interestingly enough, Montefiore looked into the number of lovers Catherine was supposed to have had and he concluded that she probably had around 12 lovers – hardly the debauched monarch of legend.

For information about the exhibition go to

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澳大利亚当代艺术中心 – The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA

ACCA – the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art –  is Australia’s most significant contemporary art space and plays a pivotal role in developing contemporary art in Australia. It is the only major public gallery in Australia focused on commissioning rather than collecting, and has commissioned an unparalleled number of new works from emerging Australian contemporary artists.


The current NEW15 exhibition is part of the annual NEW series that provides young artists with the opportunity to create large-scale new works. NEW has been so successful that for some artists it has become the launching pad to local and even international recognition. Now in its 15th year, NEW is highly regarded and generates huge excitement in the local art world and annual pilgrimages to ACCA in Melbourne.


Venice Biennale 2015

In addition to NEW, through its exhibitions and commissions, ACCA promotes a range of talented Australian artists. Some of those who exhibited at ACCA have gone on to exhibit at the Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious art event. They include Callum Morton, Daniel von Sturmer, Susan Norrie, Patrician Piccinini, Ricky Swallow, Shaun Gladwell, Simryn Gill and now Fiona Hall. (See image slider above)

At Venice Biennale 2015, Fiona Hall’s installation, ‘Wrong Way Time’ will be the inaugural exhibition of the new Australian Pavilion.  Australia is the first nation to be granted permission to create a new building among the Biennale’s heritage-listed buildings. This is remarkably significant for Australian art and architecture as it is the first 21st century pavilion to be built in the historic Giardini.

This new $7.5million pavilion represents another link between ACCA and the Venice Biennale. John Denton, Director of Denton Corker Marshall, the Melbourne based architecture firm that designed the new pavilion, is also Chair of ACCA. The previous Chair of ACCA was Naomi Milgrom AO, businesswoman, philanthropist and distinguished patron of contemporary art and architecture.

The ACCA Building

The ACCA building itself has become a distinctive architectural icon of Melbourne.

It’s rust red steel exterior is reminiscent of the red earth in outback Australia, and like this earth, it too changes colours in response to the sun. Sometimes it is a brooding dark red, at other times a vibrant, rich burnt-orange colour. The building was designed by local architects, Wood Marsh, and completed in 2002. But ACCA’s history as Australia’s only ‘kunsthalle’  showcasing the latest and most significant artwork by living artists from around the world, goes back 30 years.

The ACCA building is located behind the National Gallery of Victoria in the arts precinct of Southbank, and in a sense was regarded as the  “new kid on the block”. The National Gallery had reigned over art in the state of Victoria for 152 years. But increasingly, ACCA became the place to see the newest and most exciting trends in contemporary art. This was in stark contrast to the NGV which largely turned its back on contemporary Australian art.  It was only last year, with the blockbuster exhibition, ‘Melbourne Now’, that the NGV finally flung open its doors to contemporary artists, many of whom had been welcome for some time at ACCA.

ACCA’s renowned Artistic Director and curator Juliana Engberg who has commissioned and overseen more than 120 of ACCA’s Australian and international exhibitions, is now leaving to join the roaming European Capital of Culture series.

ACCA Events

In addition to its exhibitions, ACCA also holds very popular events. There are drawing workshops, educational programs and lectures. Currently, there is a highly acclaimed lecture series called ‘The Grand Tour: Cities Shaped by Art’  that covers London, Venice, Berlin, Beijing and Amsterdam.

The ACCA courtyard is shared with the Malthouse Theatre and is a very attractive place to enjoy a coffee after viewing the exhibitions.





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莫宁顿半岛之雅碧湖葡萄园 – Yabby Lake Vineyard, Mornington Peninsula

Yabby Lake Vineyard, Mornington Peninsula

Rows of vines, draped in white netting, spread down the hill and across the valley. The sea shines in the distance. You sit on the deck overlooking the vineyard and enjoy an excellent meal. The wine you are drinking is produced from the vines below you, and it is some of the best wine in Australia. Suddenly six kangaroos come leaping past and hop between the vines down to the lake – Yabby Lake. ( Yabbies are small, freshwater crayfish)

The Trophies 

Yabby Lake Vineyard sprang into public prominence when it made history by winning the coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy for Best Red Wine of the 2011 and 2012 vintages. It was the first time in its 52 year history that the Jimmy Watson Trophy was awarded to a Pinot Noir –  a Yabby Lake Block 1 Pinot Noir 2012.

This remarkable achievement was followed by accolades and awards for the Block 2 Pinot Noir 2013, which to date has already collected 11 trophies.

The Founders

And yet the vineyard is only 17 years old. When Robert and Mem Kirby bought the land in Tuerong on the Mornington Peninsula, they were not winemakers, but wine collectors who always dreamed of planting a vineyard. The land had the perfect conditions for growing high quality chardonnay and pinot noir – ‘hungry soil’ and a north-facing slope capturing both maximum sunshine and cooling sea breezes from 3 directions – Port Philip Bay, Western Port Bay and Bass Strait. It is this maritime climate that has turned the Mornington Peninsula into such a successful wine growing region.



The Viticulturist

A viticulturist with 27 years of experience, Keith Harris has been at Yabby Lake right from the beginning, carrying out research, soil surveys and preparation to ensure that the right variety of vine clone was matched to the type of soil. Then season after season, he hand-nurtures each vine.  When asked how Yabby Lake managed to achieve distinction for its pinot noir in such a short period of time, he replied,  “ It’s rigour. To grow good pinot noir you need rigour. Rigour in the vineyard, rigour in the winery, and rigour with the bank manager. We’ve had all three. It’s a very expensive way of growing grapes.”

The Winemaker

Tom Carson, joined Yabby Lake as General Manager and Chief Winemaker in 2008. Prior to that he was at Yering Station for 12 years during which time the winery won international acclaim including ‘International Winemaker of the Year’ at the 2004 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

He believes that  “ wine is not a competition game. It’s a respect game. It’s respecting wines, where they come from and why they taste the way they do. We don’t think that we are making wines that are better than any other particular producer or place in the world. What we can say is that we are making wines from our site and we have a site that is capable of producing exceptionally good quality.”

The Cellar Door and Restaurant

The Cellar Door and Restaurant opened only 2 years ago but is already recognised for its quality wine and food. Acclaimed chef Heston Blumenthal brought his family for lunch and Melbourne fine dining restaurant Vue de Monde held a food and wine tasting there recently.

Chef Simon West uses local suppliers extensively and the menu, which changes daily, offers casual, but refined, sophisticated food. The paintings and the sculptures combine with the natural beauty of the place to make it a lovely way to spend an afternoon in a vineyard.

It’s only a 50-minute drive from Melbourne on the M11 but the contrast with the bustling traffic is immediate. The gates of Yabby Lake open onto a silent, peaceful vista of rolling hills covered in vines – vines protected by nets in this season. The drive to the winery and restaurant is through a long avenue of tall eucalyptus trees, which give a distinctly Australian aspect to the rows of vines on either side of the road. These tall trees look as if they have been here forever, but they were planted by Mem Kirby as small saplings.

Kangaroos Between the Vines

If you are lucky, you might spot a kangaroo between the vines. Kangaroos are not usually associated in our minds with vineyards, but  apparently wine and kangaroos cohabit very comfortably. They don’t often eat the grapes as they prefer the grass that grows between the vines.

The Winery

The significant new addition to Yabby Lake this year is the opening of the winery which was constructed not far from the Cellar Door.  Now tractors are able to deliver the freshly hand-picked grapes a short distance directly from the vineyard into the winery, rather than being pressed at a distant site.

WomanGoingPlaces was the first to film the pressing of the grapes in this new winery. The grapes are dropped into a huge, highly sophisticated de-stemmer that removes the stems from the grapes by gravity. The grapes are never pumped or handled in a way that can damage them. New technology for an ancient craft.

Australia does not have the benefit of centuries of winemaking, but we are not as new to it as you might think. In fact, when the first British ships were transporting convicts to this land, they also transported grape vines. The first pinot that we know of in Australia, is called MV6  (Mother Vine). It was brought  out in 1840 and was thought to originate in France. The grapes that are grown today in Yabby Lake are clones of this original Mother Vine.

The Wines

Yabby Lake Vineyard produces single vineyard wines under the Yabby Lake label and from an additional site under the Heathcote Estate label.

Yabby Lake’s range of wines includes pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, shiraz and sauvignon blanc. Their wines are exported to major wine markets overseas including to their 5 cellar doors in China.

The vineyard evokes an Australian childhood idyll – the  summer pastime of searching for yabbies in dams, creeks and lakes – for which it was named. The idyll is still present in the wide bucolic sweep of the place. But the Yabby Lake Vineyard, first under Robert and Mem Kirby and now in the hands of the second generation, Nina and Clark, has developed into an enterprise that is making its mark on Australian wine-making.


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Photographs & Video – Rosalie Zycher & Augustine Zycher

Music – Albare  CD  ‘The Road Ahead’  ‘Expectations’ track




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澳大利亚的标志—— 墨尔本布莱顿海滩之彩色盒子房


媛梦之旅继上篇 Iconic Bathing Boxes of the Mornington Peninsula 澳大利亚维多利亚州莫宁顿半岛地 收到热烈反响后,现就彩色盒子房发表另一篇文章。与上次不一样的是,这次的彩色小屋位于可以眺望城市商业中心的墨尔本近郊,他们就是布莱顿海滩(Brighton Beach)上的90个彩色小屋。



好吧,那就让我们用2014年底拍卖的数字告诉你。位于布莱顿海滩边丹迪路(Dendy St.)上的彩色盒子房在去年年底进行了两次拍卖。其中第57A号小屋以二十一万五千澳元的高价售出,每平方的价格达到了四万四千七百九十一澳元。几分钟后,沙滩上的另一处有着一百多年历史的67号小屋也被炒到了十九万澳元。




接下来可以讲讲它们的历史。布莱顿海滩和莫宁顿半岛(Mornington Peninsula)上的1300个彩色盒子房可以追溯到19世纪80年代,当初为了让女士们可以更得体方便的在沙滩上更换泳衣才建造了这些小屋子。

Bathing Box Licence 1936布莱顿历史协会(Brighton Historical Society)有记录显示,在布莱顿原来有更多的彩色盒子房,但是由于恶劣的天气,它们有的被海水冲走了有的则被损坏了。该协会还保留了一份1936年的许可拥有盒子房的证明。






正是由于认识到其价值,海湾委员(Bayside Council)会批准在丹迪街海滩旁再建10座小房子,这为其小金库增加了160万澳元的收入。但是沿莫宁顿半岛的多数委员会有严格的规章制度来阻止新建盒子房。

管理彩色盒子房的规章制度可以追溯到几十年前,并且由小房子所在的每个地区的盒子房协会(Bathing Box Associations)所监管。在布莱顿地区,还附有这样一条使用说明-只有海湾地区的纳税人才有资格拥有盒子房。执照持有者不得出租或转包其小屋。另外,执照持有者也不能住在小屋内或将小屋用作住宿场所。对于如何装饰小屋还有更加严格的要求。

因此,当看到一个盒子房展示出这样的画面时,我们的吃惊程度可想而知。富士山下,蓝色巨浪拍打在日本的海岸上,而不是澳大利亚的某一片海滩上。第66号彩色盒子房的设计源于一幅非常有名的日本版画《神奈川冲浪里》(Under the Wave off Kanagawa)。这幅由葛饰北斋(Katsushika Hokusai)创作的作品是世界上最有辨识度的日本艺术品之一.




Li Na just after winning the Australian Open Trophy as Women's Singles Champion 2014

Li Na just after winning the Australian Open Trophy as Women’s Singles Champion 2014


摄像 —— David Zycher

视频编辑——Augustine Zycher

如想单独浏览每一页照片,请登陆我们网站 Gallery 一栏。

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在如此美好的春天该怎样度过愉快的一天呢?开车前往墨尔本近郊的欧林达(Olinda)小镇,看看那里的杜鹃花花园(Rhododendron Gardens)将是一个不错的选择。



从墨尔本开车只需一个小时就能到达杜鹃花花园。当你沿着丹德农山脉(Dandenong Ranges)蜿蜒的山路驶向阴凉的大山深处时,你就会被高耸的桉树和葱郁的蕨类植物包围。这些澳大利亚本土的植物为移植和保护那些珍稀杜鹃花品种起到了天然屏障作用。


在彼得·马西森(Peter Matthiessen)的著作《雪豹》(The Snow Leopard)中,他在前往喜马拉雅山的途中曾写到杜鹃花,当时他所处的地方海拔为3810米。因为反射冰川光线的缘故,“杜鹃花叶子在悬崖绝壁上显得光彩熠熠”。彼得对这一点大为惊叹。

1960年,澳大利亚杜鹃花协会(Australian Rhododendron Society)的成员说服了当时维多利亚州州长亨利·博尔特(Henry Bolte),促其拨地600亩用来建设杜鹃花花园。该协会成员自愿负担起亲手清理土地和种植杜鹃花这些艰巨的任务。在那漫长且炎热的夏日里,来自妇女协助组织(Women’s Auxiliary)的志愿者们则会提着沉重的水桶走遍整个山脉,为得就是拯救新种的杜鹃花。


杜鹃花公园现在由维多利亚公园协会(Parks Victoria)管理,但同时ARS也积极地参与管理工作。他们在十月组织了一场大会,会上云集了国际专家、澳大利亚和海外的业内工作者、公园管理人士,共同讨论在这个日益变化的世界里,人们在保护杜鹃花工作方面所面临的挑战。他们也为一个刚刚修缮完毕的暖房(越橘杜鹃花房)举行了一场启用仪式,该花房是用来保护脆弱的越橘杜鹃花的。




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视频编辑:Augustine Zycher



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We tend to forget that Melbourne is only 179 years old. Founded by colonial settlers on the traditional lands of the Kulin nation, the new city’s great good fortune came about not only  from the gold that fueled its growth, but also from the vision that drove its planners.

They built Melbourne according to a thoughtful design that created wide boulevards and verdant parks. The grand buildings that lined these boulevards were an expression of the city’s wealth, and represented the most impressive architecture of the day. “Marvellous Melbourne” as it came to be known, expanded rapidly to become by 1890, the second largest city in the British empire after London.

Within the grid laid down by the founding fathers, Melbourne’s skyline has since changed dramatically and ever more rapidly. The old heritage buildings that remain are now nestled  between skyscrapers. Victorian architecture stands side by side with a profusion of architectural styles that have been in vogue over the years – including Colonial Regency, Victorian Italianate, Art Deco, Neo-Gothic, Internationalist, Modern, and Post-Modern.

Melburnians and tourists are fascinated by this array of architecture and seize opportunities to explore the buildings in this city. One of the best opportunities is Open House Melbourne, when the month of July is dedicated to the exploration of Melbourne’s design and architecture. In one weekend event, 100 buildings are thrown open to the public. Thousands rush from building to building. Hundreds queue for hours waiting patiently for entry. Access to some buildings is restricted because they are working offices. There are even buildings restricted to only 10 people in total because they are so susceptible to damage. Hundreds of people enter ballots for a rare tour of these restricted buildings.

WomanGoingPlaces  took part in this event to bring you images of some of these buildings in our video presentation. We photographed a range of architectural styles  including the Manchester Unity building, an extraordinary example of Skyscaper Gothic built in 1932; the Windsor Hotel built in 1883, the oldest hotel in Australia; the 150 year-old Treasury building where the gold bullion found in the goldfields of Victoria was stored; the gorgeous Block Arcade of 1892; Harry Seidler’s 1988 building with its enamel mural by Arthur Boyd at No.1 Spring St. that heralded the European Modernist style in Australia; and Federation Square that recently won recognition as the 6th best square in the world.

Our access to buildings also enabled us to photograph aspects of Melbourne’s skyline of which most people are unaware and cannot observe as they hurry along the streets on their daily routine.

Even if you missed Open House this year or did not get to see as many buildings as you would have liked, you can still continue to visit many buildings. The Open House Melbourne printed program provides extended information on each building including its history, architectural features, significant stories, location and interesting facts. It is a valuable resource that has a life outside of the annual event weekend as it allows you to create your own Melbourne architectural walking tour year round. (See link below)

Marvellous Buildings of Melbourne photographer – David Zycher

Editor of video & post writer – Augustine Zycher

Music – Albare ‘No Love Lost’ from the CD  ‘The Road Ahead’

See the Gallery for the names of the buildings in the video.

For a map of where all the buildings included in Open House Melbourne are situated go to




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Melbourne Now – The National Gallery of Victoria



Like an Empress Dowager, the National Gallery has reigned over art in the state of Victoria for 152 years. This bluestone building, standing like a fortress behind a moat of water, has been a revered institution but also a very conservative one. Contemporary art was rarely exhibited here.

But now, in a dramatic break with the past, the Empress Dowager has flung off her ceremonial robes and put on jeans.

This is the feeling I got at the launch of the National Gallery of Victoria’s first ever massive exhibition of contemporary art, Melbourne Now. It is an explosion of colour and creativity. It features video, sound and light installations, interactive community exhibitions and artworks, and design and architectural components.

Over 400 local artists, designers and architects have individually and collectively brought a new excitement into the galleries. They are boldly and exuberantly celebrating the contemporary cultural identity of Melbourne.

This unprecedented exhibition was initiated by Tony Ellwood, the director of the NGV. He explained that “It takes as its premise the idea that a city is significantly shaped by the artists, designers, architects, choreographers, intellectuals and community groups that live and work in its midst.”  The Melbourne Now exhibition has brought this creative energy into the NGV and the effect, he said, has been “transformative.”

As you walk amongst the more than 250 works, you are able to identify and recognize so much of what it means to live in Melbourne today. There is a Design Wall with 600 everyday items such as tram handles and water coolers; icing-coated edible living and dining rooms; a large dome constructed out of plastic Ikea bins; and many other remarkable exhibits.

That could be the reason Melbourne Now has struck such a chord with both locals and tourists.

A record number of more than 100,000 people saw the exhibition in its first 2 weeks alone.

It is the perfect place to come on your own. You can come again with a friend or a group of friends. In fact, you can probably do all three as there are many opportunities to visit repeatedly and it would be near impossible to see it all in one visit. Entry is free, however often you visit.

We’ve prepared a presentation of photos of some of the exhibits for you to see. Photography by Augustine Zycher and Rosalie Zycher.  Several photos courtesy of NGV. Post by Augustine Zycher


Melbourne Now will be open until 23rd March, 2014. Note that the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square is closed on Mondays and NGV International on St. Kilda Road is closed on Tuesdays.


Melbourne Now is not only the first major exhibition showcasing the city’s contemporary art, it is also the biggest exhibition in the gallery’s history. Spread over its two sites, NGV International on St. Kilda Road (B in map below) and NGV Australia at the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square (A in map below), it also spills out into street art in the city’s laneways.

WomanGoingPlaces has written about the street art in Hosier Lane ( ). The project ALLYOURWALLS associated with Melbourne Now has painted over these works to allow a new group of the finest of Melbourne’s street artists a chance to exhibit.

Further Information

Not only is there so much to see, but there are a great many public events scheduled over the next few months as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition. You can get information on the website  

View Larger Map





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有些巷道,如曾有一个多世纪是众多服装工厂所在地的福林德斯巷(Flinders Lane)都是这座城市生命的一部分。但它们曾经却都不是这座城市体面和值得炫耀的一部分。


其中最有特色的巷道艺术当属位于霍西尔巷(Hosier Lane)的了。参加一次游览或是自己去寻找它们吧。最后你还可以在沿途众多的咖啡馆中以享用美妙的咖啡完美收官。


摄影及编辑Augustine Zycher


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