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AGO Partners with the J. Paul Getty Museum to Present
Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in
Florentine Art
in March 2013

Exhibition offers an experience to discover rare Early Renaissance works by Giotto and his contemporaries 

(TORONTO – June 27, 2012) The splendour and devotion of the Early Renaissance come to life at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) next spring with a large-scale exhibition of Florentine masterpieces, 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 rare panel paintings, manuscripts, sculpture and stained glass to tell the inside story of how the artists of one city brought about the birth of the Renaissance. Thanks to new scientific and art-historical research into the materials and techniques employed by painters of the time, as well as interactive iPad stations, audiences will learn more about how these masterpieces were created. The exhibition will take place at the AGO from March 16 to June 16, 2013.

The exhibition comprises more than 90 key pieces from the first half of the 14th century, including Giotto’s five-panel Peruzzi Altarpiece, two painted and hand-written copies of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Bernardo Daddi’s Virgin Mary with Saints Thomas Aquinas and Paul. The works, which have been secured by a team of staff members from the AGO and the Getty, will transport audiences back in time to Florence in the Early Renaissance.

“The AGO is proud to join forces with the Getty Museum, which is renowned internationally for its exhibitions, conservation and research,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “This exhibition and the programming around it allow us to look at one of the most crucial periods in Western art history with fresh eyes. We invite visitors to view these seminal works through a contemporary lens, relating the issues of Florentine society at the dawn of the Renaissance to those of our modern lives.”

Subdivided into various themes, Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art will explore how the city’s burgeoning economy of the time fostered a unique demand for artworks both religious and civic, as well as the collaborative nature of artistic production, a closer look at the workshops of artists, the stories behind the works and their subjects and insight into conservation research. Visitors will interact with the exhibition at numerous hands-on stations, offering the opportunity to explore inside the Renaissance artist’s studio, discover the pigments and tools used, hear music from a book whose pages will be reunited for the first time in over a century, view footage of Florence and see aspects of the works through the microscopes of conservators.

Curated by Christine Sciacca, assistant curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, together with coordinating curator Sasha Suda, assistant curator of European art at the AGO, Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art will bring to life recent discoveries about artistic techniques and studio practice in Florence between 1300 and 1350. In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO will host a public symposium that will assemble leading international experts to discuss the relationship between scientific research and art history.

"The exhibition features artists who were masters in both panel painting and manuscript illumination in the vibrant cultural climate of 14th-century Florence," explained Sciacca. "With new findings about artistic techniques and artists' workshops based on conservation research and scientific analysis, we are able to present a rich, nuanced picture of the beauty and creativity of artistic production in Florence."

According to Suda, “this exhibition will make it clear that the diverse artistic practices of Giotto and his contemporaries paved the way for generations of Italian Renaissance masters to come.”

The exhibition is the first of its kind in Canada, as many of the treasured works have never travelled before and likely will not again for generations to come. Notable works include:

• Giotto di Bondone, Pentecost, Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 43 cm x 31.7 cm (The National Gallery, London)

• Bernardo Daddi, The Virgin Mary with Saints Thomas Aquinas and Paul, Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 120.7 cm x 55.9 cm (Getty)

• Pacino di Bonaguida, Polyptych: The Crucifixion, Saint Nicholas, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Florentius, and Saint Luke, 182 cm x 249 cm (Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence)

• Pacino di Bonaguida, Carmina regia: The Appeal of Prato to Robert of Anjou, 47.7 cm x 34.2 cm (The British Library, London)

• Master of the Dominican Effigies, Specchio Umano, 38.5 cm x 27.2 cm (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence)

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art is presented in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles, which will display the exhibition from Nov. 13, 2012, to Feb. 10, 2013, under the title Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300–1350. This relationship underlines the AGO’s commitment to supporting conservation and research efforts as well as bringing the world’s masterpieces to Toronto through top-tier partnerships, which have recently included the Musée National Picasso, Paris, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

AGO Members will enjoy free admission to Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art and will be invited to an exclusive preview in the days leading up to the exhibition’s public opening. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

A catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition. Edited by Christine Sciacca with contributions by Sasha Suda and others, Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 will be available for purchase at shopAGO.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners:

Aeroplan, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program

American Express, Signature Partner of the AGO’s Conservation Program

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 Kenneth 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.

Oct. 20, 2012–Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

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

The Art Gallery of Ontario 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.


For images and more information on Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Melissa Prince; Veritas Communications

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