Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, NL
Boxwood prayer beads, rosaries and miniature altarpieces made in Northern Europe during the early 1500s demonstrate the limitless potential of human artistic practice. These tiny masterpieces, small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, depict complex scenes with elegance and precision. Without fail, they inspire viewers to ask how a person could have possibly made them, a question that can only be answered today. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has joined forces with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to focus on these spectacular objects. Debuting in Toronto on Nov. 5, 2016, Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, for the first time brings together more than 60 rare boxwood carvings from institutions and private collections across Europe and North America. The exhibition offers new insight into the methods of production and cultural significance of these awe-inspiring works of art. Highlighting the cutting edge technology used by curators and conservators in their search to understand these miniature sculptures, the exhibition runs until Jan. 22, 2017.
The exhibition will travel to the Cloisters in New York on Feb. 21, 2017 and to the Rijksmuseum on June 15, 2017.
A generously illustrated 80-page book accompanies the exhibition. Featuring high-resolution digital photographs, X-rays and micro-CT scans, Gothic Boxwood Miniatures: A Beginner’s Guide is co-authored by Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator, The Met Cloisters, Pete Dandridge, Objects Conservator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lisa Ellis, Conservator, Sculpture and Decorative Arts, AGO, and Sasha Suda, Curator Curator & R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print and Drawing Council, AGO. The guide will be available for sale in shopAGO for $19.95 in November, 2016.
An extensive scholarly publication edited by Frits Scholten, with contributions by Barbara Drake Boehm, Pete Dandridge, Lisa Ellis, Reindert Falkenburg, Ingmar Reesing, Frits Scholten, and Sasha Suda will be published by the Rijksmuseum.