Renaissance masterpieces draw more than 125,000 visitors to the National Gallery of Canada
Ottawa - September 8, 2005
The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) proudly announces a remarkable attendance of more than 125,000 visitors to its magnificent exhibition Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence, which opened May 29 and ended Monday, September 5. More than 70% of the 128,809 people who saw the exhibition were visitors to the National Capital Region.
“We are delighted by such enormous public and critical success,” says Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. “What a wonderful way to celebrate our 125th anniversary and present in exclusivity these rare works by great Renaissance masters in Canada. We are also extremely grateful for the support of our partner Bell Canada, the exhibition’s principal sponsor. “
“Bell Canada is very proud to have celebrated its 125th anniversary this year in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada,” says Mirko Bibic, Chief Regulatory Affairs, Bell Canada. “Our sponsorship of the Renaissance exhibit was an ideal opportunity to showcase our deep commitment to the arts in Canada.”
The Renaissance Ball, which launched the exhibition, was the National Gallery of Canada Foundation’s first national fundraising event, with more than one million dollars collected for the Gallery. The extraordinary celebration, held on May 28, attracted nearly 500 distinguished philanthropists and leaders from the arts, business and government from across Canada. Revenues raised by the event have been directed toward the acquisition of major works of art and will support the NGC’s travelling exhibitions program throughout the country as well as educational art programs for children.
Three Renaissance masterpieces were acquired in connection with Leonard da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence:
- Francesco Salviati’s drawing David was acquired entirely through funds raised by the Renaissance Ball.
- The painting Virgin and Child with an Angel, also by Salviati, was acquired mainly through the Gallery’s annual acquisitions budget, a gift of $100,000 from the Gallery’s Volunteers’ Circle and $300,000 donated by the Foundation from the proceeds of the Ball.
- The drawing Reclining Male Nude, by Jacopo da Pontormo, was acquired through the Gallery’s annual acquisitions budget, with an additional contribution from the members of the Foundation Circle.
“I am most appreciative of the Foundation’s many patrons and the Volunteers’ Circle whose financial participation enables us to acquire important works on behalf of all Canadians,” says Marie Claire Morin, President and CEO of the Foundation. It should be noted that Salviati’s Virgin and Child with an Angel will soon be transferred to the European Galleries, on the Gallery’s upper level, so that all visitors to the national collection will be able to enjoy it.
The majority of the works in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence were on loan and being shown together for the first time in North America. “Organizing an exhibition of this scale is an extraordinary accomplishment and we are extremely grateful for the support of such prestigious institutions as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the National Galleries in London and Washington, the Vatican Museums and Windsor Castle,” says David Franklin, NGC Deputy Director and Curator in Chief, who was the curator of the exhibition.
On May 29, Dr. Franklin and a dozen Renaissance scholars from Canada, the United States and Europe conducted a symposium on the Renaissance for a standing room only audience of over 500 people. The meeting of experts provided an in-depth exploration of one of the most innovative periods in the history of art.
Well known for its exceptional educational programming, the National Gallery of Canada offered a number of lectures, workshops, concerts and special activities for all ages in conjunction with the exhibition, including the interactive studio, Self-Guided Activity Booklet and separate Bell Audioguides for adults and children. The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue and numerous souvenir articles have delighted patrons of the Gallery Bookstore.
Our partners in the region’s tourist industry contributed greatly to the success of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Renaissance in Florence, especially the Sheraton Hotel Ottawa, the Four Points Sheraton Gatineau-Ottawa Hotel and Conference Centre, ARC the.hotel, the Carmichael Inn & Spa, Chapters (Rideau Branch) and Via Rail Canada. Our media partners, the Société Radio-Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, LeDroit and The Ottawa Citizen, also provided invaluable promotional support to the exhibition.
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