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Medieval and Renaissance Treasures

…is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on June 23rd.

According to the press release: “Highlights of this exhibition will include remarkable ivory carvings, such as the Late Antique Symmachi Panel..

The Symmachi Panel, Rome, Italy, about 400, Carved elephant ivory. Image: hp.uab.edu

…made in Rome around 400 for patrician patrons; the Lorsch Gospels Cover..

Front cover of The Lorsch Gospels, Aachen, Germany, about 810, Carved elephant ivory. Image: vam.ac.uk

…produced at the court of Charlemagne around 800; and the Basilewsky Situla..

The Basilewsky Situla, Ottonian, about 980, Ivory. Image: artfund.org

…an extremely rare holy water bucket made for the Ottonian Emperor in the late tenth century.

On display will also be great examples of goldsmiths’ works from the Romanesque period and the largest and most splendid of the Limoges enamel caskets dedicated to St Thomas Becket, dating around 1180. There will also be a rare opportunity to see virtuoso wood sculptures by the German master Veit Stoss and the enigmatic Netherlandish sculptor called the Master of Elsloo.

And for fans of the popular novel The Da Vinci Code, Leonardo da Vinci’s Forster Codex will be a highlight of the exhibition. Leonardo’s ‘mirrorwriting’ and diagrams in this personal notebook present fascinating insights into his genius.”


The AGO writes a perfectly good press release about a wonderful and exciting exhibition, and then RUINS it by appealing to the lowest common denominator – is anyone even still interested in The Davinci Code??

More importantly, is Toronto’s public really not sophisticated enough to appreciate a world-class exhibition of medieval antiquities without reference to an airport novel?

Perhaps not, but it’s insulting.

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