Memento Mori Miniature Art

I visited Art Gallery of Ontario yesterday and spent some time looking at a wonderful exhibit called “Meditation and the Medieval Mind.” I took many photos, and thought I would share some here for those who may be interested. Reflection on death through contemplation of what are known as “memento mori” has been an important source of religious, philosophical and spiritual art throughout European history. This exhibit looks mainly at miniature art, as well as some larger religious pieces, all reflective of the undeniable fact of mortality and our inevitable appointment with Death.

“Death Triumphant” carved lindenwood, Germany (Bavaria), 1670.
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
Coffin pendant and case, gold, hair, crystal and sharkskin, England, 1721
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
“Saint Michael Triumphant Over the Devil”, carved fruitwood, Southern Germany, 1742.
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
Left to right: Death, carved boxwood, late 16th to early 17th c Germany;
Death, ivory, early 17th century Germany;
Skull with crown of thorns, ivory, 18th century Germany
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
“The Dance of Death”, Circle of Leonhard Kern, ivory, mid 17th century, Germany
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
Skull Pomander, silver, 17th century.
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
“Allegory of Youth and Death,” ivory, early 17th century Germany (Augsburg or Munich)
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.
“Skeleton Arising from the Tomb at The Last Judgement” ivory and paint, 16th century Germany or France
Thompson Collection of European Art at Art Gallery of Ontario. Photo: Veronica Childe.