So after the Martin/Harris exhibit we planned to go down to the first floor. Karen wanted to check out the the Idea Lab exhibit called ‘Investigating the Art of Benjamin Cheverton’. Best laid plans of–you know the rest. We got a little waylaid in some African masks and other carvings and then the Henry Moore sculpture centre. And then we found the beautiful Galleria Italia with its Espresso Bar and had to eat. Looking at beautiful art is hard work! Then to get downstairs we had to go through some of the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art. Luckily some arrowheads showed us the way to the stairs or we’d still be there.
So I used the map to navigate the way to the Idea Lab but we only made it to the first room of the Thomson Collection of European Art on the way before we were struck with that spectre of religious shock and awe I mentioned yesterday.
While billed as:
both sacred and secular objects including a renowned group of medieval and Baroque ivories, as well as fine examples of silver, Limoges enamel, boxwood carving, medieval manuscripts, carved portrait medallions and nearly 100 portrait miniatures from the 16th to the 19th centuries
the ivories were enough. Simply beautiful. A distressing beauty yes in that I can’t help but think of all the elephants that had to be harvested and/or killed to make produce the raw material but still tiny pieces of art. You’d need free access to the objects and a magnifying glass to get the full effect but still, these are worth seeing. Some of the objects at the AGO are so intricate that they’ve required high tech to unravel as you can see in these two links: fine resolution and inside a prayer bead.
There was room after room of these treasures up to and including the brilliant Peter Paul Rubens’ ‘The Massacre of the Innocents’. When we finally made it to the Cheverton thing in the Idea Lab I was a little let down but only for moments as then we found the Tanenbaum Collection. If you follow that link you’ll see a Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s bust of Pope Gregory XV as the first image. I’ve never seen marble express so much. You can see veins on the forehead and those eyes! Incredible.
There was far more to see and we did attempt some of it but it was clear to Karen and I when we were being forced to leave as the museum was closing that the AGO is a treasure trove of amazing art. And we’ve only scratched the surface.