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View of mosaic ceiling, stained glass windows and ceremonial entrance in the Rotunda, Royal Ontario Museum
Creator: Brian Boyle
Date of Image: April 2006
Other Media: Director's Choice: Podcast
ROM Links: Mosaic Ceiling — Rotunda
Credit: The Rotunda is dedicated in honour of Ernest and Elizabeth Samuel.
Museum ID Number: ROM2006_7142_17
Image Number: ROM2006_7142_17

The Rotunda, dedicated in honour of Ernest and Elizabeth Samuel, features one of the Museum’s most magnificent architectural treasures—a spectacular mosaic dome.

Charles T. Currelly, the first director of the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, conceived of this mosaic introduction for the 1933 addition. As the main entrance to the Museum from 1933 to 2005, the Rotunda’s mosaic ceiling reflected the breadth of the collections to visitors; its patterns and symbols representing cultures throughout the ages and around the world.

The ceiling is made from more than a million tiny coloured squares of imported Venetian glass. Its sparkling gold, rust and bronze background is inset with red, blue and turquoise patterns, recalling the magnificent mosaics of the Byzantine world and Eastern Europe. A team of skilled workers laboured for eight months to install the ceiling.

The central panel is inscribed with a passage from the Book of Job in the Old Testament: “That all men may know his work”.

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