The 'Louvre of Asia': 7 reasons to visit the Singapore National Gallery
By Carolyn Oei, for CNN
Updated 8:58 PM ET, Thu February 4, 2016
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National Gallery Singapore – Opened in November 2015, it took the government 10 years and $374 million to build the new National Gallery Singapore.
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Beautiful library – The former law library of the Supreme Court building has been restored to become a resource center for the public.
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History restored – The restored National Gallery Singapore is converted from two historic buildings, the city-state's City Hall and Supreme Court. Original features include the flooring of the old Supreme Court foyer.
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Landmark buildings – The neo-classical City Hall -- formerly known as Municipal Building -- was opened in 1929, and the Supreme Court (pictured) a decade after.
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Hidden time capsule – A time capsule sits beneath the foundation stone, which was laid in 1937. The capsule contains newspapers and currency, and is scheduled for opening in 3000.
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Vast art collection – The National Gallery is home to more than 8,000 modern Singaporean and Southeast Asian works from the 19th and 20th centuries.
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Politicized art – "National Language Class" (Oil on Canvas, 1959) by Singapore's pioneer artist Chua Mia Tee was created to convey strong nationalist feelings after Singapore gained independence.
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Dining outlets – For a taste of (very rich) local cuisine, there's National Kitchen by Violet Oon -- Singapore's culinary doyenne -- in the museum.
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Rooftop bars with a view – Smoke & Mirrors and Aura (pictured) spill out onto a deck that overlooks the iconic Padang field -- Singapore's "Central Park" in the colonial days.
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Children's Museum – A sizeable portion of the National Gallery Singapore is dedicated to arts education for young people including a children's museum (pictured).
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National Gallery Singapore is converted from two historic buildings
A time capsule was laid beneath the building in 1937, to be opened in 3000
The gallery boasts the world's largest Southeast Asian and Singaporean modern art collection
It's also the home to some of the hottest restaurants in town
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After renovation, the former law library of the Supreme Court building still retains its scholastic aura.
It has high columns, a domed roof and restored bookshelves.
It's now part of the Resource Centre -- a trove of archival material accessible for public view.
Largest painting in the house
Raden Saleh's "Boschbrand" (Forest Fire) spans an entire wall in the museum.
The artwork "Boschbrand" (Forest Fire) by Indonesian painter Raden Saleh is mounted on a wall all on its own for good reason.
Measuring 396 x 300 centimeters, it's the largest painting in the gallery.
Completed in 1849, the dramatic piece depicts a frenzied scene of tigers and other beasts fleeing a jungle inferno.
It sits in Gallery 2 of the UOB Southeast Asia Gallery.
Largest collection of Southeast Asia's modern art
National Gallery Singapore houses more than 8,000 modern Singaporean and Southeast Asian works from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The diverse collection spans years, techniques and artistic movements.
There are factual documentations such as Nguyen Van Nhan's 1902 "Grande tenue de la Cour d'Annam" (Official Dress of the Vietnamese Imperial Court), an album of watercolor and gouache paintings of the exquisite ceremonial outfits.
Other highlights include politicized art like "National Language Class" painted in 1959 by pioneering Singaporean artist Chua Mia Tee.
There are contemporary emotive pieces such as 1997's "Exotic 101" by American-Thai artist Michael Shaowanasai, which consists of a metal pole, a circular platform and a performance video.
There's a Gallery Explorer app to help you meander through the vast exhibits, but only for iOS at time of writing.
Enjoying superb views on the upper levels there's rooftop bar Smoke & Mirrors and the lavish Aura restaurant.
Both outlets spill out onto the Padang Deck which overlooks the Padang field -- Singapore's "Central Park" in the colonial days and where many important festivities like National Day Parade are staged.
Farther out can be seen the squat roofs of Singapore Cricket Club and Singapore Recreation Club juxtaposed against the spaceshippy Marina Bay Sands and the skyscrapers of Raffles Place.