Examining their social, political, and economic contexts, McKay shows how the murals of this period glorified Canada as a modern nation state, extolled the virtues of commerce and industry, inculcated conventions of gender and race, and shared the intensity of nationalistic sentiment that led to the work of the more renowned painters of Toronto's Group of Seven. Bringing together for the first time a body of Canadian work - civic, commercial, religious, and private - that has been largely ignored by art historians, A National Soul challenges previous histories of Canadian painting. This generously illustrated book reproduces seldom-seen works from across the country, many of which have been moved or destroyed, and includes a comprehensive listing of all works from the period, their original and present locations, and their state of preservation.
About the author
Marylin J. McKay is a professor of art history at NSCAD University and the author of A National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s-1930s.
"A thorough and definitive study of murals in Canada. This book will become a classic on a long-neglected but complex and important aspect of Canadian art." Laurier Lacroix, Art History, Université de Québec à Montreal ----- "An important and fascinating study of mural painting in Canada from the 1860s to the 1930s. McKay's scholarship is exhaustive and theoretically astute, showing us how mural movements functioned to support nationalistic aspirations and political ideologies while providing a history of the mural movement across Canada and explaining why Canadian art histories since the World War II have chosen to ignore this body of work." John O'Brian, Art History, University of British Columbia