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SYMPOSIUM | Unlocking the Mysteries of Gothic Boxwood Carving

Sunday, October 30, 2016
10 - 11 am Exhibition preview
11 am - 4 pm Symposium
Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario
Members $60 | Public $75 | Students $50
Lunch included


Intimate in scale and impossibly intricate in design, sixteenth-century miniature boxwood carvings have baffled the curious since the time they were made. Through the joint effort of the curatorial and conservation staff of the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Rijksmuseum, the long-held secrets of the construction of these tiny treasures have been discovered and their histories uncovered in preparation for the 2016–2017 exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures.

To celebrate the launch of Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, the AGO welcomes international scholars for a one-day research symposium featuring the curators, conservators and various scientists and technical researchers who helped to identify the methods of manufacturing these wonderful works of art.

Symposium Program:

10-11am Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures exhibition preview for symposium attendees

11am AGO Welcome:  Stephan Jost, Michael & Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

11-11:20 am Project History and Outline: Dr. Alexandra Suda, Curator, European Art & R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print & Drawing Council, AGO

11:20-11:40 am Technical Research Summary: Lisa Ellis, Conservator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, AGO and Pete Dandridge, Conservator and Administrator, The Sherman Fairchild Centre for Objects Conservation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

11:50 am-12:10pm Photographic Campaign: Dr. Angela Glover, Research Assistant, European Art, AGO and Craig Boyko & Ian Lefebvre, Art Photographers, Digital Imaging, AGO

12:10-12:30 pm Contemporary Relevance: Ian Brown, author and feature writer for The Globe and Mail

12:30-1:30 Lunch and Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures exhibition preview for symposium attendees

1:30-1:50 pm Why Boxwood? Dr. Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator, Cloisters,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2:00-2:45 pm Macro to Micro: The non-destructive radiographic imaging of heritage artifacts: Dr. Andrew Nelson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, The University of Western Ontario & Research Associate of World Cultures, Royal Ontario Museum

3D X-ray Imaging and Future Innovations For Museum Research: Dan Sykes, PhD researcher, Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility, University of Manchester

Advanced techniques for visualization and segmentation of CT images: Eric Fournier, Chief Technology Officer, ORS Object Research Systems

2:45-3 pm Applications of micro CT scanning for boxwood project - Detroit Case Study: Dr. Yao-Fen You,  Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)and John Steele, Head of Conservation, DIA

3-3:30 pm Virtual Reality Application: Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and Founder of CFC Media Lab; Priam Givord, Interactive Art Director; Mark Jones, Chair, School of Creative Arts and Animation, Faculty of Communication, Art and Design, Seneca College

3:30-3:50 pm Who is Adam Dirksz and what would he think of all of this?: Dr. Frits Scholten, senior curator of sculpture, Rijksmuseum

3:50 pm Closing Remarks: Dr.  Alexandra Suda

Lead Supporter

  • Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Ira Gluskin

Generously supported by

  • Hans and Susan Brenninkmeyer
  • David G. Broadhurst
  • Nancy Lockhart and The Murray Frum Foundation
  • The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation

With assistance from

  • Anthony and Helen Graham

Signature Partner, AGO Conservation Program

Online catalogue raisonné and digital photography made possible through the generous support of

  • The Family of the late Ken Thomson

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