Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien

Archive of past issues

Vol. X:1 (1987)


Figures hors-texte

Note sur l'Histoire Naturelle des Indes Occidentales du père Louis Nicolas, jésuite

François-Marc Gagnon

Le sentiment que l'image introduit une rupture dans le texte qu'elle a pourtant fonction d'illustrer a toujours été très vif. Et comment pourrait-il en être autrement? N'avons-nous pas appris à lire bien après avoir appris à regarder? À telle enseigne que le cerveau doit d'abord traduire les mots lus en sons avant de pouvoir leur donner un sens. À telle enseigne qu'il existe chez les peuples qui pratiquent deux systèmes d'écriture-l'un, idéographique, l'autre, phonétique, comme c'est le cas des Japonais-des cas de dyslexie du système phonétique (kana) sans que l'habileté à lire le système idéographique (kanji) soit affectée. On pourrait donc appeler l'effet de rupture ressenti au passage du texte à l'image, l'effet kana-kanji, si ce n'était expliquer l'obscur par le plus obscur encore. Il nous paraît plus utile de nous demander comment ce sentiment s'est exprimé dans notre littérature—à vrai dire, nous ne nous occuperons que de celle de la Nouvelle-France-quand elle s'est souciée d'illustrer ses textes par des images.

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Figures hors-texte

Note On Histoire naturelle des indes occidentales Of Father Louis Nicolas, Jesuit

Based on the text of the Histoire Naturelle des Indes Occidentales, ca. 1675, by Louis Nicolas, S.J., this note is an analysis of the relationship between his text and the imagery contained in the Codex Canadiensis. It is proposed that the drawings for the Codex were, in fact, done by Father Nicolas and that the formulae he used demonstrate that he was well aware of the necessity, importance, and limitations of illustrations in discussion of seventeenth-century natural science.

L'énigme du tabernacle des Sœurs Grises

Cécile Langlois-Szaszkiewicz

L'ancien tabernacle du maître-autel de la chapelle des Soeurs Grises de Montréal est couvert de plusieurs couches de peinture qui ne réussissent pas à en cacher la richesse. Il est recouvert de blanc avec quelques applications à la feuille d'or sur les hauts-reliefs de l'ornementation. La forme harmonieuse de l'ensemble baroque, aux proportions essentiellement classiques, dégage un elfet à la fois rythmique et reposant.

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The Grey Nuns' Tabernacle: An Enigma

The old tabernacle from the main altar originally situated in the chapel of the Grey Nuns in Old Montreal, is covered with many layers of paint which, however, do not conceal its magnificent structure. Original in conception and innovative in decoration, its design embodies a Classical order within a Baroque ensemble. It is sculpted in wood, painted and accented with highlights in gold leaf. This tabernacle is an enigma for art historians who have been unable to confirm its attribution to Philippe Liébert (1733–1804). This attribution is supported by the chronicles of the Grey Nuns, although, according to the receipt books of the religious community, the sculptor was never paid. Other evidence supports this attribution and there is no reason to believe at this time that anyone else could have been its author.

The Concept of "Regionalism" in Canadian Art History

Virginia Nixon

The term "regionalism" has been frequently used in connection with Canadian art of the 1930's and 1940's. In some cases, its employment suggests an interest in creating a category of Canadian regional art. In almost all instances the word is used with a decided lack of precision. This article will examine the use of the term "regionalism" as it has been applied to Canadian art of the thirties and forties in an attempt to isolate some of the factors that have conditioned its usage, so curiously vague, in Canadian art writing. The discussion is directed not at regionalism as such, but purely at the term as applied to painting of the thirties and forties in English-language texts. Most of the texts cited were written subsequent to that period.


The Buildings of Samuel Maclure • Statues of Parliment Hill: An Illustrated History

Martin Segger • Terry Gail Guernsey

Alan Gowans

These two handsomely designed and well-produced books, appearing at about the same time last year, represent two major contributions to the literature of Canadian art history. Both are solidly professional. Both present all sorts of new data from primary sources. Both present what amount to breakthroughs to new levels of writing on architecture and sculpture in Canada. No one interested in Canadian art can afford to overlook them, even though neither was put out by one of the better-known Canadian publishers (which may, or may not, tell us something about the current state of scholarly publishing in Canada).

Construction d'un musée des Beaux-Arts / Montréal 1912 / Building a Beaux-Arts Museum

Rosalind M. Pepall

Giles Hawkins

The ostensible subject of this catalogue to a recent exhibition mounted by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the design and construction of the gallery built in 1912 for the Art Association of Montreal (renamed the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1949). The exhibition and its publication are both a timely and a welcome project. The past decade has witnessed an explosive growth in museum construction and expansion both in Canada and abroad. The well-researched catalogue essay by the exhibition's guest curator, Rosalind M. Pepall, provides a useful historical perspective from which to consider these recent developments.

UUMAJUT: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art

Cynthia Driscoll

Cynthia Cook

Bernadette Driscoll's catalogue Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art is a disappointing addition to a long line of publications by the Winnipeg Art Gallery on Inuit art. Despite a careful reading, one is left with an overwhelming sense of disjointedness in both the form and the content of the catalogue.

The text of the catalogue is divided into four sections. The first three consist of essays by well-known contributors to the field of Inuit studies: "Ancient Animals: The Dorset Collection from Brooman Point" by Robert McGhee; "Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art and Spiritual Culture" by Bernadette Driscoll; and "Animals: Images, Forms, Ideas" by George Swinton. The final section includes three brief interviews with the Cape Dorset artists: Pauta Saila, Joannsie Salomonie and Kiawak Ashoona. Unfortunately, no introduction is given by the curator to explain the relationship of these essays either to each other or to the theme of the exhibition. Left to make these connections, the reader can only conclude that the thin thread tying one section to the next is their shared subject matter: animals.