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“Pop” art

June 10th, 2019

Image by the AGO.

Walking through the galleries it’s easy to spot the many fathers and father figures depicted throughout the AGO Collection. From powerful monarchs to early French settlers, there are representations of fatherhood from many different cultures and time periods. And with Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we gathered together a few works to help you celebrate the special father, pop, dad, granddad or other father figure in your life.

Hans Holbein the Younger – Portrait of Henry VIII (1491-1547; reigned 1509-47)

A painting of a man wearing large cloaks and jewels.
Hans Holbein, the younger, Portrait of Henry VIII (1491-1547; reigned 1509-47, 16th century. Oil on oak panel, 64 x 51.8 cm. Anonymous Gift, 2000. © Art Gallery of Ontario 2000/172

One of the most infamous English kings, King Henry VIII was best known for his many wives. However, these ill-fated marriages also brought him many children, making him one of history’s most infamous fathers as well. Three of King Henry’s children would go on to rule, most notably his daughter Elizabeth I, who reigned for 44 years. King Henry VIII commissioned many portraits of himself, which he used to promote himself as a strong and powerful ruler.

Cornelius Krieghoff – Fiddler and Boy Doing Jig

A painting of a man playing the fiddle for three small children in the living room of their small pioneer cottage.
Cornelius Krieghoff, Fiddler and Boy Doing Jig, 1852. Oil on canvas, 38.1 x 32.2 cm. The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. 2009/495

Take a look at this work by Canadian painter Cornelius Kreighoff.  Featuring a habitant father playing fiddle for a group of children, the scene is full of joy, dance and laughter. An artist and a musician, it’s said that Kreighoff’s father taught him how to play the violin (fiddle). Perhaps that was the inspiration for this classic scene of early French-Canadian life.

Anthony van Dyck – Daedalus and Icarus

A painting of a young man with wings strapped to his back with an older man behind him talking in his ear.
Anthony van Dyck, Daedalus and Icarus, c. 1620. Oil on canvas, 115.3 x 86.4 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. Wood, 1940. © Art Gallery of Ontario 2556 Lefebvre

A mythic father-son duo, the story of Daedalus and Icarus warns us not to let ego blind our common sense. A famous inventor, Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned in a tall tower on the Greek island of Crete. In an attempt to escape, Daedalus crafted two pairs of wings out of candle wax and feathers. Once airborne, Icarus was so overcome by the power of flight he ascended towards the sun, which melted the wax of his wings, destroying his chance of escape. In this portrait, we see a miserly Daedalus fitting the new pair of wings onto his cherubic young son.   

After taking in all the Dad-themed art, grab a snack and a beer at the AGO Bistro. Or, stop by shopAGO  for artful Father’s Day gift ideas including a sleek memobottle, Alkemista Alcohol Infusion Vessel or a gentlemen’s hardware cocktail multi tool. And don’t forget, AGO Members receive 10% discounts at shopAGO, caféAGO, Espresso Bar in Galleria Italia, AGO Bistro, and they enjoy additional seasonal offers. Not a Member? You can always join today.

Admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions is always free for AGO Members,  AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 and under. For more information, please visit the website.

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