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Pharaoh Exhibition – NGV Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

The 2024 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibition Pharaoh will arrive at NGV International on 14 June 2024. Pharaoh will showcase three thousand years of ancient Egyptian art and culture through over 500 works on loan from the British Museum. The exhibition features monumental sculptures, tomb and temple architecture, coffins, funerary objects, and ancient Egyptian jewellery. 

Pharaoh Exhibition – NGV Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
Image credit: Plaque of Amenemhat IV Probably Byblos, Lebanon 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat IV, about 1808 - 1799 BC Gold H 2.9 cm, W 3.1 cm, D 0.1 cm © The Trustees of the British Museum


RELATED: Explore Ancient Egypt for Kids at NGV

Pharaoh Exhibition – NGV Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
Image credit: Shabti of Pharaoh Sety I, Tomb of Sety I, Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt, 19th Dynasty, reign of Sety I, about 1294 - 1279 BC Blue faience, H 22.8 cm, W 9.6 cm, D 9.6 cm © The Trustees of the British Museum

Curated for the National Gallery of Victoria by the British Museum as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® series, Pharaoh is the largest international exhibition ever presented by the British Museum. Many works will be displayed in Australia for the first time, making this Melbourne-exclusive presentation the most extensive ancient Egyptian exhibition ever held in the country.

Pharaoh Exhibition – NGV Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
Image credit: Relief of a mother, possibly a queen, and her son Provenance unknown Ptolemaic Period, about 305 - 30 BC Limestone H 15.5 cm, W 19.2 cm, D 4 cm © The Trustees of the British Museum

Spanning from the 1st Dynasty (c. 3000 BCE) to the Roman period (3rd century CE), Pharaoh explores the lives, myths, and images of the rulers of ancient Egypt through examples of art, design, and architecture. The exhibition features works commissioned by notable figures such as Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Queen Nefertari, Khufu, and Alexander the Great.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • A carved green siltstone Head of Tuthmose III, depicting the pharaoh with the tall white crown of Upper Egypt and cobra headdress (uraeus).
  • An ivory label from the 1st Dynasty depicting King Den subduing his enemy, showcasing the early depiction of pharaohs around 3000 BCE.
  • A larger-than-life limestone statue of Ramses II (c. 1279-1213 BCE) as a high priest.
  • The Seated statue of Pharaoh Sety II (c. 1200-1194 BCE), the most complete sculpture of a pharaoh in the British Museum’s collection.


Pharaoh Exhibition – NGV Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
Image credit: Ornament of a winged scarab holding a sun - disc Provenance unknown, possibly Thebes, Egypt 12th Dynasty, reign of Senusret II, about 880 - 1874 BC Electrum, lapis lazuli, cornelian and feldspar H 1.8cm, W 3.5cm, D 3cm © The Trustees of the British Museum

The exhibition also includes large-scale statuary and architecture, such as a limestone wall from an Old Kingdom mastaba tomb and an enormous stone fist from a colossal statue of Ramses II.

Jewellery and body adornment are prominently featured, with displays of necklaces, collars, girdles, and rings made from gold, silver, electrum, and semi-precious gems. Amulets from tombs and pieces from settlement sites like Akhenaten’s royal city of Amarna reveal the significance and craftsmanship of Egyptian jewellery.

A section of the exhibition focuses on the craftspeople who decorated the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Artifacts from their village, Deir el-Medina, offer insights into their everyday lives through personal objects, including inscribed limestone fragments.

Running alongside the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibition, Pharaoh is the Ancient Egypt for Kids. This interactive exhibition offers young visitors and their families a chance to explore the art and culture of ancient Egypt. 


Pharaoh is on display from 14 June – 6 October 2024 at NGV International on St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Ticket prices:
NGV Member Adult $34
NGV Member Child $16 (5–15 years)
NGV Member Family $84
Adult $38
Child (5–15 years) $18
Concession $35
Seniors card discount Wednesdays only
Family  $94 (2 adults + 3 children)

More information

Main image credit: Head of Thutmose III wearing a white crown Karnak, Thebes, Egypt 18th Dynasty, reign of Thutmose III, about 1479-1457BC Green siltstone H 46cm, W 19cm, D 32cm© The Trustees of the British Museum


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