The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa had its beginnings in the late nineteenth century with the idea that Canadians deserve their own national gallery. The gallery would become a space to display Canadian art; to teach about and study the cultural heritage of the vast country, and to obtain spectacular works of art from across the globe. The aim of the art museum would be to expose visitors to magnificent art from all time periods and in all forms, including sculptures, photographs, paintings, and much more.
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The National Gallery of Canada is now one of the most respected art institutions in the world. The museum is famous for its spectacular collection of over sixty-five thousand pieces of artwork, commended for its ways of engaging visitors of any age and any level of knowledge of the arts, and respected for scholarship. The National Gallery is housed in a light-filled, grand building of granite and glass, inside of which guests will find a reconstructed chapel from the nineteenth century, a glass-bottomed pool, and a cloistered garden courtyard.
The collection at the National Gallery consists of a broad scope of art. The institution's Canadian Art collection features a wide variety of artwork that is representative of artistic practices dating back to New France in the early eighteenth century to the early 1990's. The collection of Indigenous Art includes artwork by Canada's Aboriginal Peoples, in addition to works by other indigenous people worldwide. The collection features artistic practices that are outside of the established cannons of art of the western world. The experience of displacement, cultural repression, and forced assimilation are characteristics that define these forms of art.
The National Gallery of Canada's collection of contemporary art represents the artistic trends of modern day. The collection features work created within the past twenty-five years, and is a continuously evolving representation of current art practices. The diversity and dynamism of artists and artwork is reflected in the contemporary collection, connecting to a long history of the National Gallery supporting art of today. While the earliest works acquired by the Gallery for the collection may not be the most modern, they were considered contemporary art at the time.
The National Gallery of Canada also holds works of European, American, and Asian art. From the outset, the art museum has worked to acquire European art, with a goal of possessing a collection representative of the diverse and rich traditions of the continent. Containing approximately four hundred works, the collection of Asian art ranges from second century to the nineteenth century. Contemporary art from throughout Asia is also actively collected by the National Gallery.
An expansive collection of drawings and prints is also present at the National Gallery of Canada. The Prints and Drawings collection features more than twenty-seven thousand works of art on paper by artists from across Canada, the United States, and Europe. The collection is notable for its diversity and excellence, representing all of the major schools of art dating back to the fifteenth century through to contemporary times.
380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Phone: 613-990-1985