Things to do in Toronto – Art Gallery of Ontario (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario for my birthday. And go I did. I was off to a bit of a late start, but I wasn’t going to rush today. It was MY day. I got to the bus stop and as I walked out to meet the bus, another car drove by and splashed water all over me. Not a great way to start the day, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I had packed a lunch and was going to make the most of this crappy looking day. I’ve had to borrow many photos here since they are not permitted in the gallery, but I’ve attempted to give credit where credit is due.

The staff was extremely helpful and gave me some advice on what I should do on my first trip. I arrived around noon and there was a highlights tour at 1 pm. I thought that would be a great way to get to see the gallery and it was only an hour long. I started off in the Thomson wing since it was the closest to me. It took me almost the whole hour to go through.

Some of the pieces that I was drawn to in this section were in Section 108, a collection of death articles. This included mostly carvings and jewellery such as pendants. “Death Stealing A Child” – Circle by David Heschler is a good example. Also a Skull Pendant w/ Entombed Skeleton was intriguing. The attention to detail was amazing and somewhat grotesque. Today some people wear such items to get a rise out of others, but when these were made, they were meant as protection from the devil or to scare people into submission of the church. Another favourite of mine in this area were the Chinese Snuff Bottles (Sec. 111), especially #93. Yes, there are that many of them.

I also went through a photography collection of Abel Boulineau. This collection had been discovered by an intern at the AGO (See? Interns are good!) . Originally thought to have belonged to another photographer, the intern found a photograph of Auberive and on the back it said “Ou je suis ne” or “where I was born”. Knowing that the photographer who was thought to have taken them was not born there, she delved further and found the name of Abel Boulineau.

Pope Gregory XV by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1621

Time for my tour! I joined about a dozen people on the tour with our guide Adrienne. We met in Walker Court and then proceeded to Section 121, part of the Tanenbaum Centre for European Art. One of the first pieces we were told about was the bust of Pope Gregory XV by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1621. A very impressive piece indeed.

From there we passed through to the Grange area, which has big windows, not something I’m used to seeing in a gallery. We took the elevator up to see this piece: X. It was apparently brought up from the depths of the gallery. It had been commissioned by the AGO and incorporated many different pieces of art that are displayed in the gallery itself. It kind of reminded me of Dali.

I could go on for days. Needless to say, I spend at least 5 hours there and was able to take my lunch along, take a tour and not pay a dime. Nothing much in the gift shop was up my alley. I was going to make this a really long post, but decided to let you go for yourself. One of the things that really drove me to go back was the Art Chat that I attended and the book that I got from it, Highlights. Gave me a glimpse of everything.
Sorry it’s so late, but I’m getting better at this…honest. 😉

2 comments on “Things to do in Toronto – Art Gallery of Ontario (Part 2)

  1. Thanks Colleen. Yes, there definitely are a number of different styles. One of the reasons it took me so long to write the post is how long it got in describing all the things I saw from a beginner’s eye.

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