International exclusive - Pharaoh to reign at the NGV

20 September 2023

In 2024 Melbourne will host the international-exclusive exhibition Pharaoh as the next instalment of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series.

Head of colossal statue, probably of Amenemhat III Bubastis , Egypt 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat III, about 1854 - 1808 BC Granodiorite H 83cm, W 85cm, D 71cm © The Trustees of the British Museum

The new exhibition will mark the 20th anniversary of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, which has attracted more than seven million visitors since its inception in 2004.

Pharaoh will take visitors on a journey through 3000 years of ancient Egyptian art, design and culture, from colossal sculptures, epic tomb and temple architecture to sacred relics and jewellery.

More than 500 precious works will come to Melbourne exclusively from the British Museum, the most ambitious international presentation of the museum’s collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.

Many of the works will be displayed in Australia for the first time, offering Victorians and visitors the rare chance to get up close to priceless items from ancient Egypt.

Highlights include a larger-than-life statue of legendary Ramses II alongside one of the most complete sculptures to survive ancient Egypt depicting his grandson Sety II; a limestone tomb wall carved with hieroglyphs; and an enormous fist from the temple of Ptah weighing 1.5 tonnes.

Pharaoh will also include works commissioned by and celebrating ancient Egypt’s most famous rulers Tutankhamun, Queen Nefertari, Khufu, and foreign leaders such as Alexander the Great.

The accompanying program will include a free family-friendly exhibition in the NGV’s children’s gallery with hands-on activities, as well as a new season of NGV Friday Nights running each week throughout the exhibition.

Supported through the Major Events Fund, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series has been bringing blockbuster art and cultural exhibitions exclusively to Melbourne since 2004. Current exhibitions include Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi at the NGV and Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion at ACMI.

Pharaoh will be on display from 14 June to 6 October 2024 at NGV International. For tickets and further information, visit the NGV website: