The first of those to view the newly opened Corsini Collection exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki might have noticed some unusually dressed attendees strolling through the exhibition.

Susannah Lees-Jeffries, of Royal New Zealand Ballet, jumped at the opportunity to have two dancers from the current season of Romeo and Juliet explore the exhibition in full costume, describing the collaboration as a fabulous synergy, with the costumes (designed by Academy Award winner James Acheson) being so strongly inspired by the paintings of Renaissance Italy.

The Corsini Collection is being displayed for the first time outside of Italy, and as such, the dancers enjoyed a rare opportunity to see the exhibition before public opening.

The magnitude of this was not lost on them, with Paul Mathews (who plays Tybalt) stating that he'd been a bit nervous walking around with a sword.


The paintings are no strangers to damage, however, with one in particular being notable for a prominent bullet hole, just one of the many fascinating stories surrounding this collection.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Romeo and Juliet tours New Zealand until September 24 while Auckland Art Gallery's Corsini Collection: A Window on Renaissance Florence is open until January 21.