Storytelling in miniature at TMAWritten by Blair Bohland | | email@example.com
Toledo Museum of Art will take 140 prints out of storage and display them to the public for a new exhibit starting Oct. 7.
“Storytelling in Miniature” draws from the smallest pieces within the museum’s collection and contains works dating back to the Renaissance, said Kelly Fritz Garrow, director of communications at Toledo Museum of Art (TMA).
“It’s a really rich collection,” Garrow said. “We have about 10,000 works on paper and can take almost any topic and make an exhibition from those objects. It’s really comprehensive.”
The theme was inspired by the museum’s upcoming “Small Worlds” exhibit, which runs from Nov. 18 to March 25. Unlike “Small Worlds,” “Storytelling in Miniature” will focus more on the art of storytelling rather than the size and proportion of the artwork.
“The artists were telling stories in these little prints, so their topics were either mythology or Biblical,” Garrow said. “They’re definitely all prints that were created in order to do this — to tell a story.”
The exhibit includes prominent artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Charles Meryon and John Taylor Arms.
“There are also quite a few German prints in the show, and there’s Rembrandt, who’s Dutch. A lot of the pieces are European works,” Garrow said.
A number of the prints are from a group of artists called the “Little Masters,” who originally worked in Nuremberg, Germany, and often depicted secular and erotic themes in their artwork. Due to subject matter, nudity is a part of the exhibit, but does not overshadow the theme of “Storytelling in Miniature,” Garrow said.
“Everything is so small that it’s not going to be really in your face,” Garrow said. “But there’s definitely adult content and parents just need to use their judgment.”
Some of the artwork is so small that a magnifying glass must be used to appreciate the creations.
“Because of the size of some of these prints, people are going to be pretty amazed at the level of detail and at how much time the artists must have spent,” Garrow said. “Printmaking is a very old art. These are 400- and 500-year-old works of art and they’re on paper, so it’s really an amazing thing to see what some of these men and women were creating way back then.”
Since the artwork is aged and fragile, the pieces from “Storytelling in Miniature” are rarely displayed to the public.
“These are things that, unless somebody’s got a really good memory, people probably won’t remember seeing before; usually it’s at least five years since some of these things have been out on display, and sometimes much longer,” Garrow said. “The idea of doing these types of shows is to display things in the permanent collection that we don’t have out a lot. We avoid putting them in the light as much as other works, like oil paintings and sculptures. It’s nice for people to come to the museum and see new things displayed that they don’t always have the opportunity to see.”
The museum’s website will also offer an online catalog of “Storytelling in Miniature,” available beginning Oct. 7.
“With every show we do, we’re making either an online catalog or printed catalog,” Garrow said. “Since some of these works don’t come out that often, it will be a nice opportunity for people who can’t come see them in person.”
Admission to TMA and the exhibit are free. “Storytelling in Miniature” will be on exhibit through March 4. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. TMA is closed on Mondays.
For more information, visit www.toledomuseum.org or call (800) 644-6862.