Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A Flock of Holman Hunt comes to Toronto. . .

There's a great exhibition on at the AGO which I saw last weekend - Sin and Salvation: Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision. And to my great delight, one of my favourite paintings was on display (Our English Coasts painted in 1852, and pictured above). I always go to pay homage to it at the Tate when I'm in London and now that it's hanging in Toronto until May, I'll definitely be making multiple visits to see it again. One of the best things about being a Cinematheque member is free admission to the AGO with every film ticket stub. This exhibition is also part of the regular admission price, so if you haven't yet checked out the renovations, here's one more great reason to go.
It was fascinating to learn about Holman Hunt's Canadian and even Toronto connections (there's a stained glass window in one of our churches that is based on one of his paintings) and I enjoyed viewing many of his other paintings, particularly a striking piece called Isabella and the Pot of Basil, based on a Keats poem which depicts a beautiful woman clutching a wild and healthy pot of basil containing the skull of her murdered lover. Alas, in the poem the pot is taken away from her:

And so she pined, and so she died forlorn,
Imploring for her Basil to the last

Can I ever look at pesto the same way again?

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