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When you only have three weeks of summer holiday, including flying time to and from Asia, you have to try and pack everything in. Steve flying out at the end of the week meant driving down to Toronto to see friends and family there. First on the list was Jane, the mother of two of Steve’s neices, and a dear personal friend. As always she was most gracious and hospitable.

IMG_1050We intended just to get lunch together, but it ended up much more than that. There was a very nice lunch, for which Jane paid, and then a tour of the newly renovated Art Gallery of Ontario. Jane was the perfect guide, as in her capacity as art coordinator for the city of Toronto, she had first-hand knowledge of not only the art on display, but the artists and circumstances behind each acquisition.

IMG_1041The building itself is a work of art, effortlessly encorporating old and new (unlike the ridiculous new entrance to the ROM, which looks like it has been attached with a sledgehammer) and we particularly liked the front gallery and the new winding staircases. We found the information on the Grange House and garden, which started the AGO, most interesting.

bernini_corpusKen Thompson’s personal collection was a little on the side of obsessive. His enormous collection of diptychs and other iconography of Christ’s crucifixion seemed more carnally ritualistic than reverential, and Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents did not strike us as being worth either the hype or the money. More impressive was Bernini’s Corpus, a scuplture as beautiful and evocative as Michaelangelo’s Pieta with a luminosity that was both compelling and haunting. That and the numerous galleries we did not have time to explore will draw us back.

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