Art in the Spotlight: Ross King

Image of a book cover featuring a crop of the painting Portrait of Cardinal Bessarion by Joos van Ghent, showing a man in a black robe with his hand on a large red book

Image courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada Ltd. 


@ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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This is a free event

Art in the Spotlight: Ross King

Tuesday, April 20, 7 pm

Join best-selling author Ross King in conversation with the AGO’s Alexa Greist for a conversation about King’s latest rich gripping history, The Bookseller of Florence, a story of rivalry, new technology and the finest illuminated manuscripts known to history, all set against a Renaissance Florence backdrop. The Bookseller of Florence brings to light an extraordinary story about the city and its culture--that of Vespasiano da Bisticci. His bookshop in the heart of Florence was a gathering place for the city's most prominent poets and philosophers, and it was there that Vespasiano and his team of scribes created beautiful illuminated manuscripts for their clients, a cast of powerful popes and wealthy European princes.

Copies of The Bookseller of Florence are available for sale at Another Story Bookshop


Ross King is the highly praised author of Mad Enchantment, The Judgment of Paris, Brunelleschi's Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven and Leonardo and the Last Supper. He has twice won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction (for The Judgment of Paris and Leonardo and the Last Supper), and he won the RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction for Mad Enchantment. Born and raised in Canada, he holds degrees from the University of Regina, York University in Toronto and University College, London. He now lives near Oxford, England.

Alexa Greist is Associate Curator and R. Fraser Elliott Chair, Prints & Drawings at the AGO. Selected exhibitions include Mail Art, Break the Rules: The Shit Must Stop Portfolio, French Prints of the 1890s, and Rise of the Rock Poster and the Summer of Love. Prior to joining the AGO, Alexa Greist held curatorial positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery. She holds a Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania focused on Italian printed drawing books. Greist’s area of specialty is Italian Renaissance and Baroque prints and drawings.

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