One Week Left: Mystical Landscapes Exhibit at the AGO

I attended the member’s preview of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Mystical Landscapes exhibit in October. I went again last Saturday for another peek, searching for some creative inspiration. Should you go? Read on…

The Exhibit

The gallery partnered with the Musée d’Orsay to curate a wide-ranging selection of landscapes borrowed from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Musée d’Orsay itself to name only a few of the prestigious institutions.

The Musée d’Orsay houses some of my favorite pieces of art in the old Gare du Quay d’Orsay: Monets, Degas, and van Goghs among other beauties. Even though I’ve visited the museum twice on separate visits to Paris, seeing its works in Toronto became the draw for me.

The Experience

My first piece of advice: check your coat. With only a week left, people will pack this exhibit and the gallery gets stuffy quickly.

My second piece of advice: take the complimentary audio tour handset the staff give you at the start. I learned a lot about the works of art, the artists, and how the exhibition came together.

The gallery will do the rest for you. Wind your way through early landscapes where mystical often times equated religious. Wonder about why certain Monets hang on the walls (the Rouen cathedral, really?) and appreciate the landscapes that knock your socks off (hello, Edvard Munch!). Dance with old favorites (Emily Carr, Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keefe) and delight in new ones (Eugene Jansson, Charles-Marie Dulac, Fernand Khnopff). Skip the war-torn landscapes or maybe don’t. Spend time in that corner of the gallery appreciating how far certain parts of the world have come.

If you want to dive deeper into how the AGO assembled the exhibit, listen to this interview with curator Katharine Lochnan on CBC’s Tapestry with Mary Hynes (54 minutes long). For a shorter interview, try this one with Matt Galloway (CBC) and Stephen Jost (AGO).


Go and see the exhibit. Art and how a curator presents it are subjective. A piece that may have resonated with me may not resonate with you. Let’s talk about it once you’ve seen it.

The exhibit at the AGO has been extended until Sunday, February 12th.

Photo credit: Irina

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