Friday, September 21, 2018

Gallery Views

I went into the National Gallery of Canada a couple of times, a few days apart, the first in late August, the second on Labour Day, specifically for the Impressionists Treasures exhibition, which we'll have a look at starting tomorrow. On both days I stopped at the glass tower that gives views out over the surrounding area. This view towards Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court was on the first visit.

And this was on Labour Day.

This looks towards the entrance of the Impressionist Treasures exhibit.

I took shots in two settings from the corridor that's off to the right in the above shot, looking back at the glass tower.

In both visits, I took in the permanent galleries but didn't photograph much. I had a chance on the second occasion to chat with one of the docents about a couple of works- a Bernini sculpture and a painting featuring the Roman god Vulcan; the docent program is a wonderful idea. 

I did want to show you a couple of spaces that I did photograph. A room at the end of the World Art collection often features a smaller temporary exhibit. At the time of my visit, it was Masters Of Venetian Portraiture: Veronese, Tiepolo, Vittoria. It presented some paintings, sculpture, and sketches. It was centred around this terracotta bust by sculptor Alessandro Vittoria of his patron. Giulio Contarini dates to the years 1570-76 and is part of the National Gallery's collection. For a reason lost to history, Titian is erroneously marked on its base.

This formidable painting, on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is a case of an artist painting a fellow artist. Alesandro Vittoria is titled for its subject, and the artist is Paolo Veronese, done around 1580 when Vittoria was in his mid fifties.

Here we have another work, part of the National Gallery's collection. American artist Timothy Cole did this engraving on paper, rendering the art he was seeing in Europe onto paper. This is based on a Veronese, Venice Enthroned Between Justice And Peace. Cole did this in 1892. The original is in Venice.

Here we have a view of one of the interior courtyards, which features a garden.

And for today I finish off with a view looking out from the glass tower on Labour Day, with the American embassy and Major's Hill Park looming beneath a dramatic sky.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


The National Holocaust Monument was opened last year in the Lebreton Flats area, situated between the War Museum and the Canadian Firefighters Memorial. The first time I visited the monument was in the evening, which I think was fitting- it seems even more solemn by night. I have shown you it by day here and here, but I wanted to show it in evening conditions. The Monument was designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind, as a stylized Star of David from above, done with concrete angles in his signature style. Historian Doris Bergen and landscape architect Claude Cormier worked with Libeskind in the project on the historical panels and the surrounding shrubberies and plants. And photographer Edward Burtynsky contributed several current day images of Holocaust sites on a large scale, etched onto the walls. This view is from the entrance on the west side.

This is one of the Burtynsky photographs. Site Of Death March shows a country road near Mauthausen, Austria, as it appears today. Towards the end of the war, death marches were initiated by the Nazis as a measure to hide their crimes. Twenty thousand sick and weakened Jewish prisoners were taken along this road from the death camps into places still held by the German military. Those who couldn't keep up were shot and left in the ditches.

This large one on the wall, shown from two angles, is titled Abandoned Railbed. It shows the old railbed at Treblinka, where 900 000 Jews and thousands of Roma and Sinti were gassed to death. Decades later, the forest is moving in on the former railbed.

Across from it is another photograph etched on the wall. Fence, Auschwitz-Birkenau depicts the preserved barriers of the death camp.

Turning to the left gives a view of this photograph, on a section between sharp angles. Track 17 as it appears today shows the Berlin freight yard where many Jews and other persecuted peoples were put on the trains to death camps and the ghettos.

Turning back around, this perspective gives us the historical panels on the left, across from Site Of Death March.

Hiding Place depicts a Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, outside the walls of the ghetto. A trench beneath the tombstones became a hiding spot for Jewish prisoners. 

Prayer Room is the last of these large scale etched photographs by Burtynsky. Found in Theresienstadt in what is today the Czech Republic, it was created in the midst of the camp-ghetto conditions as a place of prayer and devotion, and has been preserved.

A staircase leads up to an overlook that ends pointing towards Parliament Hill. Turning around, I photographed the structure. Two other visitors are visible up here.

And I finish with this view of the east side of the Monument.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Final Views

In 2013 on this date, my first post here at Ottawa Daily Photo was published, so five years are done, and today kicks off year six of the blog.

I bring to a close this visit from the Canadian Museum of History picking up where I left off in the Grand Hall. The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii is the original plaster casting of a sculpture by the Haida artist Bill Reid. Two bronze castings of the work are on display at the Canadian embassy in Washington and at the international airport in Vancouver.

Here at the south end of the Grand Hall is the magnificent Morning Star mural by Alex Janvier, up on the ceiling, viewed from the ground floor. If I had to pick a favourite work of art in the National Capital Region, it would be this one.

I took the escalator up to the second level to depart, photographing out the windows towards the river and the Alexandra Bridge.

Outside, I like to take a shot when I come here of the fountain outside the main entrance, with Parliament Hill in the background. 

On a terrace just a few steps up is a Japanese zen garden, carefully planted with specific trees, shrubs, and other plants, with raked gravel between the islands of green.

Here we have a view from the upper terrace looking across to Ottawa. Note the reflecting pool down at the right.

The water feature from above spills over a series of terraces and down ramps, forming artificial waterfalls as it goes. It comes down into this reflecting pool, and ends up making its way down towards the Ottawa River itself, while pumps bring some of the river water back up to the top. 

Keeping close to the building's edge, one can get behind the waterfall for this view.

I finish off today with two views of a sculpture in the reflecting pool- you can see it in the shot from the upper terrace. This first take is from within the Grand Hall. The Kwakwaka'wakw artist Mary Anne Barkhouse descends from a line of fellow artists along the Pacific coast, and this sculpture, titled 'namaxsala, means 'To Travel in a Boat Together' in English. She's also the artist who did the Locavore sculpture that I showed you in my theme day post at the start of the month.

Here we see it from the outside. Done in 2013 in copper, bronze, stainless steel, and stone, it reflects First Nations culture, and is inspired by a story told by Barkhouse's grandfather- of helping a wolf "cross a treacherous piece of water on a boat, on the West coast of Canada." The accompanying plaques, inside and outside, note in the artist's statement that "my grandfather's stories always offered an alternative view for considering the world around me. And so, I relate one of them here, to help negotiate cooperation with the 'other' and inclusion of the wild."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


A reminder to members of City Daily Photo: the theme day for October is Change.

This is a view of the entrance hall at the Museum of History.

Taken from above, here is the Grand Hall.

Totem poles and facades typical of the Pacific Coast first nations are found here.

Monday, September 17, 2018


These two panels were mounted on a wall as part of the exhibit. They are on loan from our National Gallery, and date circa 1450-1500. Thought to be done by the Italian Neri di Bicci, these angels may have been part of the altarpiece The Assumption Of The Virgin at the Spini chapel in Santa Trinita Church in Florence.

Here we have Scripture. Dating circa 1420-1440, and done on vellum in Latin, this contains the Epistle to the Colossians from the New Testament. It is on loan to the exhibit from the rare books collection at McGill University in Montreal, which also loaned the last item I'll show today.

Below are papal seals. The first was attached to a document from Pope Urban VI, whose reign was from 1378-1389, and whose reign saw the start of the Western Schism and period of two rival popes. The second was that of Martin V, whose papacy picked up when the Schism ended in 1417 and lasted until 1431.

Thematic panels continued to lead the way.

These lead glazed earthenware tiles depict mythical creatures like dragons. They date to the 13th century, when common beliefs held that such creatures still existed in far off lands.

Here we have another of the tapestries from the Victoria and Albert Museum. This depicts wild men and wild women around those mythical creatures, and dates back to that period as well. Tapestry design became an art throughout the medieval age, across Europe. This one was likely made in what is now Switzerland.

It wasn't just religious or courtly life that marked the middle ages in Europe. Life in general was part of this exhibit, in terms of utensils you might find for eating, and medical matters.

The black death, or bubonic plague, lingered over Europe in the 14th century, killing millions. This is explored in this display case and panels. The doctor's mask of the time, meant to stave off infections, is a reproduction of a model that was done around 1700. A few days before I had come to the exhibit, I had watched Inferno again, the most recent of the Dan Brown adaptations, and those masks appear in the film.

I finish this look at the exhibit with a page from the Gutenberg Bible, a legacy of the medieval era. The printer made it possible for thousands of pages of a manuscript to be made, and was a significant factor in the passage from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and Reformation. This page is from the book of Jeremiah, and dates to 1455. Tomorrow we'll have some more views from around the museum, as I can never resist going down into the Grand Hall.