Art Gallery of Ontario

I was recently in Toronto and Montreal, and of course I had to check out the major museums! The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto is not to be missed!

I was impressed by the building’s amazing architecture.  Both the interior and exterior were impressive, and although I didn’t know it at the time, I am not at all surprised that the architect was Frank Gehry. Those of you out there who enjoy architecture will find this space very intriguing.

Art Gallery of Ontario exterior

Art Gallery of Ontario exterior

Showing one of Rodin's "The Burghers of Calais"

Art Gallery of Ontario interior staircase, showing one of Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais”

Galleria Italia (image from Wikipedia)

Galleria Italia (image from Wikipedia)

The collection was a delight to walk through. AGO’s European collection was extensive, exhibiting works from artists such as Bernini, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, Picasso, Rodin, Monet and Cezanne. Although not my favorite work by Bernini, the bust of Pope Gregory XV was beautifully done. It was a delight to see one of Bernini’s sculptures this side of the Atlantic Ocean.  Another highlight was Rebens’ “Massacre of the Innocents.”

Rubens, Peter Paul. The Massacre of the Innocents

“The Massacre of the Innocents”

The large painting hangs on its own, and it is really powerful to stand in front of.  Not to be missed!  It is tucked away in a room adjacent to galleries exhibiting ivory decorative arts.  I will most certainly come back to AGO and browse its permanent collection again.  I felt like I didn’t have enough time to admire its riches.

I was happy that I was able to see a temporary exhibit that the AGO had from May 5, 2012 to August 19, 2012.  It was called “Zhang Huan: Ash Paintings and Memory Doors.”  Contemporary Art isn’t always my favorite, but this show was really moving.  The Ash Paintings were a series of archival images from 19th/20th century China depicted by ashes that Zhang collected from Buddhist temples.  Memory Doors consisted of a series of antique doors that were intricately carved in the style of ancient Chinese art, but interlaced with archival images of China from the 19th and 20th centuries.  I thought both series showcased great talent and ideas, blending an ancient past with the realities of a modern world.

I didn’t have a chance to check out the AGO’s Picasso exhibit, but even without it, I very much enjoyed my visit.  The AGO has some real treasures, and I look forward to coming back!  Check back soon for more posts of my encounters with art in Canada!

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