There’s something fascinating about standing in front of a piece of artwork you’ve only ever seen in pictures. You see these monuments artworks in books and online over and over again, aware of how iconic they are and the significance they hold. It’s not until you are standing right in front of them, noticing the small imperfections, how the colours interact with the light or even how much smaller or larger they are in person that you can truly connect with the artwork.

Sprawling among the entire ground floor of the incredible NGV International building is MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art, the biggest Masterpieces exhibition to date.

I wandered into the exhibition on a cold, cloudy Monday afternoon excited to see some of the most famous pieces of modern art in the world. The exhibition is split into two halves across the ground floor of the museum, giving visitors a chance to wander around the entire gallery without feeling like it’s too crowded.

The exhibition is designed to feature artworks from MoMA’s six curatorial departments of Architecture and Design, Drawings and Prints, Film, Media and Performance Art, Painting and Sculpture, and Photography. These departments are not in sections though, the exhibition flows with a mixture of all six departments, bringing them together to create an immersive and cohesive experience.

Some of the obvious standouts from the exhibition were artworks but Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mark Rothko, and Pablo Picasso. One of the most popular pieces in the exhibition was The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali which drew big crowds who all wanted to get a glimpse of the surprisingly small but famous artwork.

Another standout was the many sculptural, architectural and design pieces that wove throughout the exhibition. They were a great addition to each section of the exhibition and pulled some of the crowds into the middle of the room, freeing up more space for everyone to view artworks without feeling rushed.

If you’re not a fan of crowds and long queues I would recommend attending this exhibition on a week day, in the morning. By the time I arrived there was a bit of a queue to purchase tickets but it didn’t take long to get through. The crowds can be a bit busy, but if you are patient it won’t take long to get your turn in front of each piece of art. The exhibit took about 2 hours to get through fully, taking time to appreciate all of the artwork.

I’d also recommend leaving the camera at home for this one – this exhibition isn’t overly interactive and it really deserves your undivided attention. This may be your only time to see some of these amazing works of art in real life so don’t waste it behind a camera screen!

The MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art exhibition is on now until early October.