Exhibition Dates

NOVEMBER 5, 2016 – JANUARY 22, 2017

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Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures

Marvels of human ingenuity, so small they can fit in the palm of your hand, miniature boxwood carvings from the early 1500s have long remained a mystery.The AGO is pleased to debut Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, a groundbreaking exhibition of more than 60 boxwood miniatures organized in partnership withThe Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum. Offering new insight into the methods of production and cultural significance of these awe-inspiring works of art, this exhibition highlights more than four years of research that has used cutting-edge technology to understand these elegantly precise miniature rosaries, prayer beads and altarpieces.

Featuring ten prayer beads and two miniature altarpieces from the AGO's own Thomson Collection of European Art, the exhibition includes several works which have never before been seen in North America, including the magnificent Chatsworth Rosary (c. 1509–1526), originally owned by Henry VIII and his first wife, Katharine of Aragon.

The exhibition is curated by Sasha Suda, the AGO's Curator, European Art & R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print & Drawing Council; Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters; and Frits Scholten, Senior Curator of Sculpture at the Rijksmuseum.

Ongoing scientific investigation into these objects—led by the AGO's Conservator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts Lisa Ellis and The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Pete Dandridge, Conservator and Administrator, Department of Objects Conservation—has been assisted by scientists at the Canadian Conservation Institute, University of Western Ontario's Department of Sustainable Archeology, London's Museum of Natural History (UK) and NASA.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

 


 

Information for Members

Members Preview Dates for Boxwood are November 2, 3 and 4

As an AGO member you see it early and receive 20% of our public talks.

 


 

Talks & Events

TALK | Heaven and Hell: Prints that inspired Boxwood carving in the 16th century

NOVEMBER 25

Where did the artists who carved the intricate devotional objects out of boxwood find their inspiration? AGO curator Sasha Suda explores the print sources for these 16th century small wonders in our popular series of intimate conversations on the power of prints and drawings. Friday, November 25, 2016

More information

 

 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS | Adam Levine - Selling “Small Wonders”: Art Sales Catalogues from the Belle Époque

JANUARY 20

Adam Levine, historian of medieval and renaissance art, examines luxurious illustrated sale catalogues from Spitzer’s major auctions, and reveals where he bought his works, to whom he sold them, and, in a few cases, how he tampered with the objects to feed his clients’ insatiable tastes for historical luxury goods.

Learn More

 


 

Catalogue Raisonné

The AGO’s Online Gothic Boxwood Catalogue Raisonné is a database containing every known example of miniature boxwood carved in the first half of the 1500s, documented with stunning new photography.

Check it out!

 


 

Small Wonders Introductory Book
Cover of Small Wonders Introductory book

Published by the AGO on the occasion of our collaborative exhibition, this lavishly illustrated 112-page book introduces readers to the materials and production techniques used in gothic boxwood carvings. Drawing primarily on the collections of the AGO and The Met, the book also considers the iconography of the works, as well as the cultural context. 

Buy it Here

 

 

 


 

Lead Supporter

 

Generously supported by

 

With assistance from

 

Online catalogue raisonné and digital photography made possible through the generous support of

The online catalogue raisonné and digital photography made possible through the generous support of Thomson Works of Art