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Small Wonders

Small Wonders

Boxwood prayer beads, rosaries, and miniature altarpieces made in Northern Europe during the early 1500s demonstrate the limitless potential of human artistic practice. These tiny masterpieces, small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, depict complex scenes with elegance and precision. Without fail, they inspire viewers to ask how a person could have possibly made them. For this publication, the Art Gallery of Ontario joined forces with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to bring together more than 60 rare boxwood carvings from institutions and private collections across Europe and North America, offering new insight into the methods of production and cultural significance of these awe-inspiring works of art.

Small Wonders features 146 high-resolution digital photographs, X-rays, and micro-CT scans of these tiny sculptures, as well as essays by Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator, The Met Cloisters; Pete Dandridge, Objects Conservator, the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lisa Ellis, Conservator, Sculpture and Decorative Arts, AGO; and Sasha Suda, Curator & R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Print and Drawing Council, AGO.


Lisa Ellis is a Conservator in Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Alexandra Suda is the Curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair on the Print and Drawing Council at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

112 pages
Pub date: November 5, 2016