My first stop on Canada Day was at the Canadian War Museum, out on Lebreton Flats just west of the downtown core. It presents Canadian military history in a chronological order against the backdrop of world history in its permanent exhibits, and regularly has special temporary exhibits. The building, opened at this location in 2005 after outgrowing its previous spot, has the look of a bunker.
A new temporary exhibit is being held inside this summer. Armour examines the concept in a multitude of ways, and a substantial amount of the exhibit items comes from the collection of Frederick Stibbert. A 19th century British-Italian citizen, Stibbert spent his life collecting works of art, antiques, armour, and weaponry dating to the Middle Ages, assembled today in the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy. The classic artifacts in here largely came from that collection, with some exceptions, while the collection was fleshed out in other ways, particularly in terms of the more recent past, and there are Canadian elements of it here that you'll see that likely won't be part of the exhibit as it goes to other spots. This exhibit will be stopping in two other locations after it's done here by the beginning of September. The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California will be hosting it from late September into January, and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, will host it from early February into the latter part of April of next year. If either of those are within range for you, I recommend taking it in.
These two paintings, side by side, are the first thing the visitor sees. An unknown French artist painted Equestrian Portrait, Likely Of Louis Of Bourbon, Duke Of Enghein in the late 1600s, showing him in full armour on his horse. An unknown Italian artist painted Portrait Of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere in the late 1500s. The subject is thought to be an elite cavalryman in service to nobility. The exhibit is organized thematically: armour as status, for sport, for combat, and for current day entertainment.
A rather unusual installation, this is a reconstruction of a still life Stibbert did around 1860. Natura Morta reflects his ideal that while humans are mortal, glory lasts forever. The reconstruction uses the same sort of material, though lists plastic as one of them, so it's safe to say that our Yorick isn't an original skull.
Flash photography wasn't allowed in here, and the room was kept dim, so it wasn't optimal conditions, but this item is from another collector. It is an Edo period Samurai armour from Japan, dating to the period 1603-1868.
This is a Tlingit helmet, created by a current day artist, Tommy Joseph, from Alaska, in 2006, done in the style of his forebears.
Portrait Of Giovanni Battista del Monte is done by Francesco Apollodoro, dating to 1593, portraying a prominent mercenary of the time in armour.
An unknown artist painted Portrait of Marchesi Ascano and Vincenzo del Monte in the 1600s. These men served with the troops of the Republic of Venice, and Ascano's breastplate bears the cross of the Knights of St. John.
The notion of armour for sport starts with the concept of jousting, when men and horses were geared up with armour to entertain the king and court.
Armour still applies in current day sports, where helmets and protective padding are used regularly. Some of that was featured here. The materials are vastly different from jousting armour, of course, but the concept is still the same- protect the body of the participant. I have more from this exhibit tomorrow.