Skip to main content

Ticketed entry is in place to safely manage visits to the Gallery, so please book ahead.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Still Life (Pieta), 2007 by Sam Jinks
Still Life (Pieta), 2007 by Sam Jinks

‘Beauty and goodness, And Grief and pity, alive in the dead marble, Do not, as you do, weep so loudly, Lest before time he should awake form death, In spite of himself...’

Giovan Battista Strozzi il Vecchio’s poem on Michelangelo’s Pietà at St Peter’s Basilica quoted in Vasari’s Lives of the Artists 1550

In Western religious art a Pietà, also called a ‘lamentation’, is an image of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Christ. Jinks’ Pietà also references the Buddhist meditation practice of visualising the decay of one’s own body as a means of bringing the mind to terms with the body’s inevitable end. Jinks contemplates the limits of humanism and secularism. He reflects on Michelangelo’s Pietà at St Peter’s Basilica:

as a comfort to people of faith, a practical image for coping with life’s suffering. How do you make an image now that gives comfort in this way? I made Pietà at the same time as my grandmother was dying. She was someone I had grown up with and was close to. I don’t have the luxury of believing.

Related information

Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks
Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks
Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks
Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks

In the flesh

Previous exhibition, 2014

In the flesh is an enthralling and immersive experience of contemporary art that confronts the concept of humanness and the experiences of consciousness and emotion. Featuring ten Australian artists including Jan Nelson, Patricia Piccinini, Ron Mueck and Michael Peck, the exhibition explores themes of intimacy, empathy, transience, transition, vulnerability, alienation, restlessness, reflection, mortality and acceptance.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

The Gallery

Explore portraiture and come face to face with Australian identity, history, culture, creativity and diversity.

Plan your visit

Timed ticketing, location, accessibility and amenities

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.