Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Favorite Paintings at The Frick Collection, New York City

The Frick Collection in New York City excelled with its Old Master paintings, particularly some "official" portraits.

The most striking one was a startling portrait Lodovico Capponi by Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572) – standing in front of a vast sensuous green velvet cloth, a fashionable and almost foppish youth, costumed in brilliant black silk tunic with white satin sleeves, with the handle of his sward provocative protruded from between his legs, gazed at viewers almost insolently.  This portrait perfectly captured the grace, insouciance, vitality and weakness of a well-to-do youth.

Bronzino [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Lodovico Capponi, 1550–55 by Agnolo Bronzino (1503–1572)
Oil on poplar panel
45 7/8 x 33 3/4 in. (116.5 x 85.7 cm)

Another interesting portrait featured a less ingratiating but much more fascinating subject - Thomas Cromwell of England, a supremely powerful, feared and even detested personality in Henry VIII's Tudor court.  The portrait, by the great Hans Holbein the Younger, caught the sitter at the apex of his ascension, before his ultimate downfall. Still, no matter how richly attired with fir-lined robe, and adorned with a huge ring inherited from his mentor, Cardinal Wolsey, the shrewd looking sitter still struck viewers as a cunning and formidable merchant, and content to be seen as such.  That ring was also a poignant reminder of the frivolity of royal favors, as Cromwell would follow precisely the trajectory of Wolsey, once ascended to the summit, he would had nowhere to go but down, and hard at that. This amazing painting was not only a great portraiture, but a cautionary story of the futility of pursuit of power and wealth.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/1498–1543) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Thomas Cromwell, 1532–33 Oil on oak panel (cradled) 30 7/8 x 25 3/8 in. (78.4 x 64.5 cm)

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 140: My Favorite Paintings at Neue Galerie, New York City
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 138: My Favorite Paintings at New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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- Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York City 
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- "The Steins Collect" Exhibit in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
- Art in Subway Station, New York City
- Neue Galerie New York - Austrian and German Art Gallery
- Barry McGee Mural, Soho, New York 2010
- Arslan: In the Midst of a Single Breath - Dillon Gallery, New York

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