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The Thomson Collection

About the AGO's Thomson Collection

The works in this collecting area have traditionally represented a survey of European art from the Italian Renaissance to the mid-1900s. More than 1,000 works of art from the Thomson Collection have bolstered the core strength of the European holdings, adding mostly small-scale sculpture dating from the Middle Ages to the 1700s. While the centrepiece of the Thomson Collection is Peter Paul Rubens’ monumental Flemish Baroque painting Massacre of the Innocents (c. 1611–1612), the works that most typified Kenneth Thomson’s collecting interests were diminutive, precious and made from natural materials such as ivory and boxwood.

Among the objects that comprise the Thomson Collection are sacred Medieval enamel and ivory works, Medieval and Renaissance devotional diptychs and secular ivory and boxwood utilitarian objects, Renaissance rosaries and prayer beads; Baroque secular boxwood and ivory sculptures, goldsmith works from the 1300s to the 1600s, and painted and carved portrait miniatures. Other prominent additions from the Thomson Collection include diminutive Egyptian antiquities, small-scale Greek and Roman antiquities, Asian works of art, Chinese snuff bottles dating back to the 1730s, Japanese wood and ivory netsuke and ojime carvings, and some Japanese lacquered objects from the early 1900s. A significant portion of the Thomson Collection is devoted to European ship models.

Navigating the Thomson Ship Model Collection

This series delves into the stories behind the ship models, the ships that inspired them and the people that created them.

The Thomson Collection

The largest gift ever made to a Canadian cultural institution, including signature Canadian and European works

A Conversation with a Collector

In a 1997 conversation, Ken Thomson shares his experiences on collecting with the AGO's Matthew Teitelbaum

The Thomson Collection of Canadian Paintings and First Nations Objects

Learn more about this unparalleled collection comprising some 700 works of art and distinguished by its remarkable breadth, the high quality of the individual works and the rarity of many of its objects

The Thomson Collection of European Art

Get overview information on the Thomson Collection of European Art, which comprises some 900 objects dating from the early Middle Ages to the mid 19th century, and includes The Massacre of the Innocents, by Peter Paul Rubens

The Thomson Collection Publications

Find out about the set of five art books being published to mark the unveiling of the Thomson Collection at the AGO

The Thomson Collection at the AGO Art Experience

Find out more about the extraordinary art experience visitors can expect when they visit the Thomson Collection at the AGO

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