Level 2a, Main entry, Swanston St
The Cowen Gallery houses a permanent exhibition of oil paintings and portrait sculptures drawn from the Library's Pictures Collection.
These include significant scenes of European exploration and settlement, early Melbourne streetscapes, and colonial and contemporary portraits.
Works in the collection include paintings by Frederick McCubbin, John Glover, William Strutt, Henry Burn, Eugene von Guerard, Thomas Clark, Jessie Traill, Nicholas Chevalier, Louis Buvelot, Lina Bryans, Caroline Williams, Sybil Craig, Danila Vassilieff and Jan Senbergs, as well as sculptures by Charles Summers, Percival Ball and John Francis.
Red & blue rotundas
The Cowen Gallery includes two adjacent rooms: the Red Rotunda and the Blue Rotunda.
The Red Rotunda contains 19th-century paintings and sculptures of some of Victoria's early settlers and other individuals who made important contributions to the history of this state, including Sir Redmond Barry, William Buckley and William Barak.
The Blue Rotunda houses 20th-century works such as portraits of authors, artists and others who have contributed to the rich culture of Victoria.
Throughout the year, the gallery also hosts occasional temporary exhibitions.
The Cowen Gallery is open Monday to Thursday 10am–9pm, and Friday to Sunday 10am–6pm.