January 17, 2010

An afternoon at the Frick Collection

This year the Frick Collection turns 75. The NYTimes published a short article about recent renovations a few weeks ago.

The collection is housed in the former residence of steel magnate Henry Clay Frick and includes "some of the best-known paintings by the greatest European artists, major works of sculpture . . . superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs, and other works of remarkable quality." Like the Nueue Gallerie (also housed in a former residence) it has a distinctly European atmosphere that matches the art contained therein.

It's been years since I've been. A few weeks ago Angela had mentioned the museum and suggested we go; today we did. I wish I hadn't waited so long to return. I loved being in the museum and seeing the works in situ. It felt like stepping into another time, and both Angela and I wondered what it would be like to live in such a space, surrounded by such amazing art. At one point I took out my iPhone to check messages, but quickly put it away; it seemed almost wrong to be using such technology within Frick's home.

The above is a detail of Jan van Eyck's Virgin and Child, with Saints and Donor, painted in the early 1440s. The painting is easily one of my favorites of the collection. It has a strange quality that seems to render it both in three and two dimensions at once.

The Frick's website has an extensive catalog of their collection (including a search engine of their works), and their YouTube channel contains introductions to various pieces of art recorded by various members of the curatorial staff.

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