Out & About

November 28, 2013

MFA offers a music-inspired trip to Venice

MONTREAL — The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents a musical trip to Venice, a celebratory collection of witty comics, and contemporary and Canadian works.

First up is “Splendore a Venizia — Art and Music from the Renaissance to Baroque in the Serenissima,” a sumptuous array of artifacts that explores the relationships between art and music in the Venetian republic. In all, some 120 paintings, drawings, musical manuscripts and historical instruments are displayed. 

The exhibit explores themes that include “Art and Music in the Public Square,” where the fanfare of ancient ceremonies and processions drew a Venetian crowd; “Art and Music in the Private Realm,” which highlights the musician, the concert setting and street scenes as a popular subjects in paintings; and “Art, Music and Mythology,” which spotlights allegorical and mythical figures as well as the advent of the opera.

Above all, classical music fills the air throughout the exhibit. Of note are a variety of antique historical instruments — many that date to the mid 16th and 17th centuries — including kettledrums; finger cymbals; and an intricate theorbo, a lute-like stringed instrument that would make any modern guitar player blush with envy. The exhibit even manages to squeeze in the most iconic symbol of Venice — a full size gondola.  

“Splendore a Venizia” continues through Jan. 19.


From the extravagant to the clever, the Museum of Fine Arts also displays “Comics at the Museum — 15 Artists from La Pasteque Reinterpret the Collection,” a witty artistic reinvention to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Montreal-based comic publishing house Le Pasteque.

Here, 15 guest artists got to choose an object from the museum’s permanent collection to comically convey a work of art through colorful story panels.

For example, illustrator Michel Rabagliati’s “Sardines” tells the story of a blue-collar guy next door whose job it is to painstakingly place a multi-paneled advertisement for sardines on the side of a building. To the worker’s dismay, a fierce windstorm blows down all of the panels except for one — which happens to be the exact replica of Joan Miro’s abstract oil painting “Head.” 

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