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Tickets for the AGO’s Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art Go on Sale March 2


AGO unveils rarely-seen works by that have survived seven centuries

TORONTO— - The splendour and riches of the Early Renaissance come to life at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from March 16 to June 16, 2013, in a large-scale exhibition of rare Florentine masterpieces that have never before been shown in Canada. Presented in partnership with the world renowned J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art brings together an unrivalled collection of more than 90 rare paintings, manuscripts, sculptures and stained glass from the 14th century to show how the artists of one city gave birth to the Renaissance.

Many of these treasured works, which have survived seven centuries, have never travelled before and likely will not again for years to come. Some pieces that are travelling directly from churches, museums and private collections in Italy have never been publicly shown and will return to safe storage once the exhibition concludes.

“The AGO has been entrusted with these masterpieces in order to offer Toronto audiences a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the works that changed art forever,” explained Matthew Teitelbaum, AGO director and CEO. “The exhibition sheds new light on how the artists of the time revolutionized their practices, paving the way for brave new ways of expression that still resonate strongly today.”

Thanks to new scientific and art-historical research into the materials and techniques employed by painters of the time, audiences will have the chance to learn fascinating true stories about how these masterpieces were created. Interactive iPad stations located through the exhibition will allow visitors of all ages to see how infrared technology can reveal a painting’s secret history.

Timed-entry tickets go on sale to the public March 2, 2013, and previous AGO ticket buyers can book tickets on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2013. Regular-priced tickets range from $16.50 for youth visitors to $25 for adults. Admission is FREE for AGO members and for children ages five and under. Tickets can be booked online by visiting

Prominent works of Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art include:

• Giotto di Bondone’s tempera and gold leaf panel painting Pentecost from around 1320, which comes to the AGO from The National Gallery of London;

• the Vatican Museum’s Madonna and Child with Angels and Female Saints by Puccio Capanna, ca. 1330;

• Giotto’s famed The Peruzzi Altarpiece, ca.1310-15, which travels from the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, N.C.;

• Bernardo Daddi’s triptych The Virgin Mary with Saints Thomas Aquinas and Paul, 1330, painted in tempera with gold leaf on panel, from the J. Paul Getty Museum;

• famed illustrator Pacino di Bonaguida’s panel paintings Polyptych: The Crucifixion, Saint Nicholas, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Florentius, and Saint Luke, dated 1313-1330, from the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence; and

• Andrea Pisano’s marble sculpture La Pittura, 1336-1343, which was originally made for Florence’s bell tower and comes to the AGO from the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence.

Another cornerstone of the exhibition is the Laudario of Sant’Agnese. As 14th-century merchants, shopkeepers and traders became increasingly involved in civic life, they began to assemble into groups that gathered to sing hymns of praise, or laude. One of the oldest lauda-singing groups in Florence, the Compagnia di Sant’Agnese, celebrated this tradition by commissioning a luxury manuscript—known as a laudario—to compile the songs that were central to its members’ daily lives. Illuminated by Pacino di Bonaguida and the Master of the Dominican Effigies, the Laudario of Sant’Agnese represents the most beautifully executed and ambitiously designed illuminated manuscript from the period. The Laudario was disassembled in the early 19th century and its pages were sold to various collectors across Europe. For the first time in modern history, the 24 surviving pages of the manuscript’s original 28 leaves will be reunited for this exhibition, and the lauda will be performed at the AGO on April 6, 2013 by Lionheart Vocal Ensemble. Additionally, a recording of the piece will play in the galleries throughout the exhibition’s run.

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art is curated by Christine Sciacca, assistant curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, together with collaborating curator Sasha Suda, assistant curator of European Art at the AGO.

According to Suda, “the invention of a lending economy and the standardization of currency in 14th-century Florence brought about a new era of unprecedented wealth, which changed artistic practices forever. This exhibition will make it clear that the diverse techniques of Giotto and his contemporaries paved the way for generations of Italian masters to come, fuelling a passion for art and elevating it to the next level. These were truly the first Renaissance men!”

Daily guided tours will give visitors insight into the history and symbolism of the art works in the exhibition every Tuesday through Friday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., and on weekends at 11 a.m. Visitors to the gallery are encouraged to explore the AGO Renaissance Trail to discover the Early Renaissance treasures in the AGO’s permanent collection. Tours run daily at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. starting from Walker Court.

FRANK restaurant celebrates the birth of the Renaissance with a tribute to Italian cuisine. Italian-inspired prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus will be available starting March 16, 2013, for $35 and $45. Additionally, a selection of Italian wines, beers, pastas and gelato will join the regular FRANK menu. The following dining and exhibition packages will also be available:

• $65 ticket (including tax); includes admission to the exhibition and a prix-fixe dinner

• $30 ticket (including tax); includes admission to the exhibition and a voucher for caféAGO

Additionally, the Espresso Bar in Galleria Italia offers a range of gelato and Italian homemade sodas, alongside a variety of coffees, teas and liqueurs and breathtaking views of the city.

shopAGO celebrates the arrival of Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art with an exciting collection of souvenir treasures, kitchenwares and accessories. Panels are available for purchase, along with ornate photo frames, water carafes, tumblers and wine decanters. Edited by Christine Sciacca with contributions by Sasha Suda, the 448 page exhibition catalogue Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 features 240 colour illustrations. It is available for purchase at shopAGO for $79.95. Visit shopAGO online or call 416-979-6610 for more information.


March 17, 2013
9 a.m.
Walker Court, AGO
Space is limited - register at

The Artists’ Liturgy, a tradition first celebrated in 1943 in Belgium, has been held annually by Toronto’s Regis College for artists and friends since 2004. The Artists’ Liturgy is an opportunity for artists to gather and offer thanks for the vocation and to celebrate collaboration among artists both Christian and non-Christian. On March 17, 2013, at 9 a.m., the Artists’ Liturgy will be celebrated for the first time on site at the AGO in conjunction with Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art. Morning Prayer (Lauds) will be held in Walker Court. A complimentary viewing of the exhibition will follow at 9:45 a.m. To attend, please register at Space is limited and this event is expected to fill to capacity in advance.

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art
March 23, 2013
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Baillie Court, AGO
Public $144 | Members $120 | Students $50 (includes lunch)

In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO will host a public symposium to assemble leading international experts — curators, art historians, scientists and conservators — to learn how art history and science come together to give a fresh understanding of the artists who gave birth to the Renaissance. Discussion topics include new conservation research and scientific analyses that shed light on artists’ techniques and workshop practices of the times. For a list of speakers and to purchase tickets, please visit

April 6, 2013
2 p.m.
Walker Court, AGO
FREE with admission

One of America’s leading ensembles in vocal chamber music, Lionheart is known for its soaring artistry as well as its masterful musical scholarship. Acclaimed for its “smoothly blended and impeccably balanced sound” (New York Times), the ensemble performs a thrilling program of songs from the illuminated pages of the Laudario of Sant’Agnese. Lionheart transcribed the music from this manuscript, whose pages will be brought together for the first time in modern history for Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art. More information is available at

Disbound and Dispersed: The History of Illuminated Manuscripts
April 17, 2013
7 p.m.
Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre, AGO
Public $12 | Members $10 | Students $8

AGO assistant curator of European Art Sasha Suda discusses the living history of illuminated manuscripts. Manuscripts were illuminated in medieval times to illustrate text and to help communicate its meaning. Text and image functioned as a single language to religious audiences. As devotional practices changed, the text in some manuscripts lost significance while the illuminations took on new meaning as works of art. In many cases, manuscripts were taken apart and transformed into single folios or cuttings that dispersed throughout the world. More information may be found at

Navigating a Gracious Cosmos: Faith and Creativity in 14th-Century Florence
May 22, 2013
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Jackman Hall, AGO
Public $12 | Members $10 |Students $8

Dante’s Divine Comedy expresses a radical new vision of religious faith that open doors to understanding spirituality and art in 14th-century Florence. Gilles Mongeau, director, master of divinity and associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Toronto’s Regis College and Sasha Suda, AGO’s assistant curator of European Art, bring to light the challenges faced by the artists that tried to capture this radical new reality.

Florence at the Time of Dante and Giotto: A lecture by George Dameron
June 5, 2013
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Jackman Hall, AGO
Public $12 | Members $10 |Students $8

In the space of two or three generations, from the middle of the13th to the early 14th century, Florence underwent a rapid and fundamental transformation. What once had been a second-tier city in Tuscany (around 1250) had become, by 1310, one of the most populated and powerful cities in Europe. This talk by George W. Dameron, professor of history at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, will suggest some explanations for these developments. Dameron is the author of Florence and Its Church in the Age of Dante.

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art is co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

SPONSOR: St. Joseph Communications

INDIVIDUAL SUPPORTERS: The AGO is grateful for the generous support of Cecily & Robert Bradshaw, Nance Gelber & Daniel Bjarnason, Michael & Sonja Koerner, Tim & Frances Price and Elizabeth Tory.

OFFICIAL HOTEL PARTNERS: Sheraton Centre Hotel and Westin Harbour Castle

GOVERNMENT PARTNER: Government of OntarioThe exhibition is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program / Avec l’appui du ministère du Patrimoine canadien par le biais du Programme d’Indemnisation pour les exposition itinérants au Canada.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults.Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

March 16–June16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

Aug. 17–Oct. 27, 2013: Ai Weiwei: According to What?

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners

A special PRESS PREVIEW of Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art will be held on March 12, 2013 at 10 a.m. at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Registration is required. Please contact to confirm your attendance.


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