Monday, April 11, 2011

The Thomson Collection

While it is somewhat fashionable to poo-poo the Art Gallery of Ontario's Thomson Collection-- Ken Thomson was largely responsible for funding the AGO's renovation, and his extensive collection of European and Canadian Art was donated to the gallery after his death-- after doing a fair bit of research on it for a paper, I can honestly say I am a big fan. The European Collection in particular is home to some very eccentric sculptural gems-- the sorts of things that would belong to a flamboyant uncle with black humour who travels a lot. The above images are some of my favourites. They are courtesy of the AGO's Art of the Day tumblr page.

From Top:

Rosary Pendant: Death Mask and Skull Eaten by Worms and Lizards
Northern France or Southern Netherlands
ivory, polychrome

Allegory of Youth and Death
German (Augsburg or Munich)
early 17th century
ivory, 7.3 x 22.6 x 9.4 cm

Death Triumphant
German (Bavaria?)
around 1670
lindenwood, 24.0 x 13.5 x 7.5 cm

Skull Pendant with Entombed Skeleton
British or Dutch
17th century
gold, enamel, diamonds, 1.4 x 1.2 x 3.4 cm


Jen Anisef said...

i *LOVE* the euro thompson collection. i could spend my whole AGO visit ogling these tiny treasures. the ship models are incredible as well.

Tara Bursey said...

Not to mention the snuff bottles! I've loved Chinese snuff bottles, ever since I was a kid at the ROM!

barbara@sparrowavenue said...

eccentric uncle is an apt description!
something about the images reminds me of Art Di Lella's work (

Tara Bursey said...

Hmmm....yes, I definitely see the connection there, Barbara. Especially in the third image.