Impressionism In the Age of Industry is an exhibition hosted by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) during February 16th 2019 to May 5th, 2019. In this gallery, it showcases many artworks from french artists such as Pissarro, Monet, Van Gogh and more. Each capturing the ever evolving world around them during the Nineteenth Century.
When first walking in, one is introduced to an iron train shed complete with a soundscape of steam trains snorting and clanging. Underneath these “iron” arches is Monet’s “Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare,” a painting that is the fascination of urban infrastructure that continues throughout the exhibition.
From there, you walk through a time where the modernity of the industry and technology started and shaped the world we live in now. The construction of the Eiffel tower in its many stages to the development of the railway. People laboring over farming fields, working with iron to something as simple as laundry. Landscapes, cityscapes and people were also the many subjects of these artworks.
The exhibition consists of more than 120 paintings, period films, photographs, cinematic works and sculptures. Selected from museums throughout Europe and North America, Assembled by Dr. Caroline Shields, the AGO’s assistant curator of European art. To see all of these, paintings, sculptures, maps and drawings all in one place was an experience in itself.
In my opinion, there is this indefinable feeling of being in the presence of history itself which makes this exhibit unique. Seeing these masterpieces come to life puts yourself, the people around you, and history itself into a stark context. It is very humbling, but also an empowering feeling knowing that history is alive all around us.