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The unknown genius of Mystical Landscapes

October 17th, 2016


Charles-Marie Dulac, Auxilium Christianorum Jesu Refucium Nostrum, plate VIII from Le Cantique des Créatures, 1894, lithograph on wove paper, 50 x 64.8 cm, ©2016 Art Gallery of Ontario, Purchased as a Gift of the Marvin Gelber Fund, 1997 97/179.10.

Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more features iconic works by famous painters, from van Gogh to Munch. But how often do we get to encounter the work of completely unknown artists, interspersed amongst the stars? Frenchman Charles-Marie Dulac (1866-98), largely forgotten till recently, is one of those gifted artists about to experience a much-deserved revival, with more than 30 of his works about to go on display. Described in his own day as the most mystical artist of his generation, Dulac warrants a key place in an exhibition that explores the search for spiritual fulfillment in nature.

Photography by Ian Lefebvre

Charles-Marie Dulac, Jesu Coronoa Sanctorum Omnium Jesu Sapientia Aeterna, plate VII from Le Cantique des Créatures, 1894, lithograph on wove paper, 50 x 64.8 cm, © 2016 Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchased as a Gift of the Marvin Gelber Fund, 1997,97/179.9

Here’s the backstory:

Dulac was born into a family of modest means and was unable to attend an academy of fine arts. Instead he trained as a painter of interior and stage decoration. By age 25 he had contracted lead poisoning from his paints. (He died just eight years later.) Knowing his fatal ailment, he visited a Franciscan friary, an encounter that inspired him to devote the rest of his life to creating devotional works of art. Like St. Francis—the Italian mystic of the 1200s—Dulac experienced the divine through communion with nature. His delicate landscape prints and paintings are bathed in an almost supernatural light. Hung together in a gallery specially designed for this exhibition, they offer moments of respite and contemplation, and a reminder of the continuing power and mystery of nature in our own time.

To delve into the history of one of the more instantly recognizable painters from the exhibition, join us on October 26 at 7 pm for Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. Celebrated author Ross King will share the extraordinarily dramatic story behind the creation of Claude Monet’s legendary water lily paintings. Click here to learn more.

Click here to buy tickets to Mystical Landscapes.


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