Friday, March 18, 2016

Van Dyck at the Frick

There's an important exhibition of the works of Anthony Van Dyck at the Frick from March 2, 2016 to June 5, 2016, and I suggest that if you live within a 200 mile radius of New York City, you make the pilgrimage to go and see it. You won't be seeing another retrospective like this for a very long time.
Van Dyck is one of my favorite painters. When I was young and first started visiting museums, I was attracted to the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens with his voluptuous, ruby-cheeked women and confident style. But I soon switched my allegiance to Van Dyck, whose sensitive, less idealized portraits were more to my liking. Not to mention his very romantic self portraits.
There's good news if you can't get to the show; you can visit the Frick's website. It's a clear, easy-to-navigate, friendly website, even for people with an irrational fear or aversion to any activity which involves a computer. There's a tour of the entire exhibition called the "Complete Checklist", which is the next best thing to seeing it in person. There are reproductions and descriptions of every work, including his drawings and etchings. It's a virtual Van Dyck treasure trove.
I discovered how to view any exhibition at the Frick - past, present or future, on the website while looking up a sculpture by Jean-Antoine Houdon I had seen there last year, titled "The Dead Thrush". It's a beautiful life-like  sculpture of a dead songbird hanging by its feet, with one wing breaking out of the borders of the sculpture. It's hanging by a delicate ribbon tied to a nail and the effect is so subtle, it's mesmerizing. It's carved out of marble, of course. When I clicked on the "Complete Checklist" link in the menu in the left hand corner of the page, it brought me to a page where all the pieces are displayed with a description of each work. Unfortunately the exhibition closed last year, so it's no longer possible to see it in person, but the website is a great way to see it if you missed it. If you click on any of the images, it gives you various views, as if you were walking around the sculpture in the gallery.
The link is:
If you browse the website a bit further, you'll find the Van Dyck exhibit as well. It's excellent, so treat yourself!

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