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The History

The legend of Cleopatra has everything: opulence, power, seduction and celebrity.

The audacious power plays and tumultuous love affairs of the last queen of Egypt have captivated artists, musicians, filmmakers and writers for more than 2000 years.

The Banquet of Cleopatra (1743-44) by Giambattista Tiepolo is a prized painting in the NGV Permanent Collection. Discover the provenance and meaning of Tiepolo’s scene of outrageous extravagance across three Sundays in October, with talks and performances each week hosted by senior curator Ted Gott.

Giambattista Tiepolo’s Banquet of Cleopatra scene is drawn from Pliny’s account of the feast in his book, Natural History. How reliable was Pliny’s version of events, and how did Tiepolo’s work become part of NGV’s collection?

This event is presented in partnership with NGV.


Ted Gott

Ted Gott is Senior Curator of International Art at the National Gallery of Victoria. After studying at the University of Melbourne, the British Museum, Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago, he previously worked at the Robert Holmes-à-Court Collection, Heide Museum of Modern Art ... Read more

Matt Smith

Matt Smith works as a writer, podcaster and freelance journalist. He hosts and produces the podcasts Emperors of Rome, When in Rome, Asia Rising and Biography. He occasionally travels through time and space, and is currently working on his second novel. ... Read more

Rhiannon Evans

At La Trobe University, Dr Rhiannon Evans teaches Ancient Mediterranean Studies – in particular, the literature and culture of Ancient Rome and its empire, as well as the Latin language and Greek and Roman mythology. She studies Roman literature of the 1st centuries BCE and CE, from Julius Caesar ... Read more


17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery, Level 2, NGV International

180 St Kilda Road Melbourne Victoria 3000

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