Nov 2010 19

Spectacular Buildings – The National Gallery of Canada

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National Gallery of Canada by daryl mitchell National Gallery of Canada by daryl mitchell

Ottawa is home to several truly exceptional art galleries and art museums, containing many true masterpieces. Regarded as one of the best art galleries in the whole of Canada, Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada houses a simply enormous collection of paintings and is located just steps from Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, Ontario at 380 Sussex Drive. The National Gallery of Canada is the country’s showcase of the visual arts and a spectacular architectural landmark.

In 2005 the National Gallery of Canada celebrated the 125th Anniversary of its founding in 1880 by the then Governor General, the Marquess of Lorne and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. With the enactment of the 1913 National Gallery of Canada Act, the Federal Government assumed responsibility for the beginning institution. The Government continued its stewardship through sequential acts of parliament, culminating in the Museums Act of July 1, 1990, which fixed the Gallery as a crown corporation and confirmed the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography as an affiliate of the National Gallery of Canada.

National Gallery Ottawa by Frazzled Jen National Gallery Ottawa by Frazzled Jen

The Gallery’s current building opened in 1988 and this unique building of art was designed by famed jewish architect Moshe Safdie, his architectural name is connected with the Vancouver Public Library. His the newest construction "Marina Bay Sands" is standing in Singapore. Moshe Safdie became Director of the Urban Design Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1978.

The most important essence of Gallery is the lightness which particularly highlights on the spirit of art. Moshe Safdie developed the scheme specifically to serve the collection with two components. Firstly, it´s a hermetic curatorial wing on the north side and second the gallery itself that fronts on Sussex Drive. Glass pavilions at the entrances of building and at the site’s highest point echo the shape of the Parliamentary library to the west, while a colonnaded ramp linking the main entrance with the Great Hall evokes a nave or temple processional like that of Notre Dame Basilica across the public square to the east. Compared by some to an ancient treasury enclosed by grand public spaces, the interior is one of coved, top-lit galleries. Today these display a collection of European, American, Canadian and Asian work. Finally, the area of the all complex is presented by 55 700 square meters.

Outside the Gallery you can not miss one of its most famous works of art – Maman, its a 9.25 meters or 30 feet tall bronze sculpture of a spider carrying a sac of 26 pure white marble eggs under her belly, sculpted by Louise Bourgeois. Travellers can see the resemblant artistic schulpture in the next part of the World, e.g. Bilbao, Saint Petersburg, Tokyo or Seoul.

Ottawa by zemistor Ottawa by zemistor

The strength of the National Gallery of Canada lies in her wonderful monumentality, and its collection of art, especially Canadian art, and its accessibility to the public across the country. The National Gallery of Canada strives to provide Canadians with a sense of identity and pride in Canada’s rich visual arts heritage and to make art accessible, meaningful and vital to diverse audiences of all ages.

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