The Frick Collection
Timeless. Regal. Exclusive.
These were the first thoughts that came to mind, as I gazed upon the infamous Rembrandt self portrait that graced the walls of The Frick Collection. Yup! Another day, another museum to visit.
It felt surreal to be in such a place, being able to view exquisite masterpieces that had been hand-selected by Henry Clay Frick himself.
It should be stated at this point that I once had the opportunity of visiting The Frick Collection, but had prioritized my painting sessions over it. Looking back now, making the time out to visit would have done a world of good.
The Frick Collection is located at East 70th Street, New York. A sizeable expanse fenced and gated, surrounded by trees and green. Not a bad first impression at all. It is widely known to have a wonderful collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and silverware.
The inside is absolutely stunning! Luxurious carpets, delicate embellished curtains, and spectacular furniture cordoned off by ropes. Not to mention, the remarkable paintings and sculptures that grace the walls and rooms.
Each room with a different setting from the other, with its own unique interior design. Quite reminiscent of European or English royalty. Needless to say, an appropriate home for the caliber of art in its keep. Unlike a typical museum, the Frick Collection takes one back in time; one almost feels as if walking with Frick himself through the rooms.
Once sorted at the payment desk, a listening guide was given, which proved very useful. Each work had a number; meaning one could simply press the number on the keypad and listen to a brief description of the artwork.
Almost too good to be true, you say? Perhaps.
NO PICTURES ALLOWED. Except in the inner garden.
And what a pity that was, because one would have to visit to truly bask in the experience.
Nonetheless, I made the most of the listening aid and noted down the most powerful paintings in my opinion. Do take the time to look these up.
Pieter Brueghel, The Three Soldiers
This painting once belonged to King Charles.
Jan Van Eyck and Workshop, Virgin and Child with Saints
It was commissioned in 1441. Although Van Eyck is believed to have begun the central part of the painting, his death in 1441 meant that his assistants completed the work.
T. Gainsborough, Mrs. Baker
The scenery, the serene look on Mrs. Baker’s face, the regal attire. One would want to keep staring or possibly follow Mrs. Baker’s gaze, out of curiosity.
George Romney, Lady Warwick and Children.
A painting commissioned by the Earl of Warwick at the time, the work was based on Henrietta the Countess of Warwick and the children. An adorable scene on first impression, however bearing a message on gender roles. The daughter is in a loving fond posture with the mother, while the young son is pictured in a pose and against a background that suggests the responsibility of the role he will one day bear as heir.
Titian, Pietro Aretinoand Portrait
Two beautifully painted portraits by the same artist, yet completely different characters depicted.
Pietro Aretino portrays a wealthy big man. Although on the bigger side, the man has an undaunted expression. Rich, brute strength. One cannot help but feel a sense of power and affluence coming from the rich man, with the great gold chain resting on his chest.
A seemingly opposite portrayal of this great man is found on the left side of the room, titled Portrait. A young man, sweet and charming in appearance. A good skin tone with inviting features to boot. Generally, a young man any woman in those times would fall ‘head over heels’ in love with (swoons).
W. Hogarth, Miss Edwards
She was rumored at one time to be one of the wealthiest young single women in England. Although she married a terrible choice for a partner, she managed to regain control of her finances and keep her wealth. She belonged in the modern times if you ask me. A strong woman.
Scipione Pulzone, Jacopo Boncompagni, 1574
Very rich detail in this one.
Frans Hals, Portrait of an Elderly Man
Hals was a contemporary of Rembrandt.
H.G.E Degas, The Rehearsal
A delightful painting of ballerinas during a rehearsal session.
Claude Monet, Vetheuil in Winter
A cool colour scheme for a wintery scene, by the great Monet.
Jan Vermeer, Mistress and Maid
If someone had told me I would view a Vermeer this year, I would have laughed.
There were about five on view at the Frick. Some of which are Officer and Girl, and Girl at her Music.
Beautiful strokes, lovely color palette, attention to detail; all with an air of directness and simplicity that makes it all the more enchanting. A work by a true master.
Rembrandt, Portrait of Himself
So here I was, in front of one of Rembrandts self-portraits. It felt surreal. No longer an art assignment or Google search result, true art lay before me. This work showed Rembrandt as a huge man, although he was known to be quite small. In place of a crown, a large velvet beret sits on his head. It is believed that he may have used crushed jewels for the painting.
So pencil it down in your calendar people! For a memorable experience, viewing classic renaissance paintings and sculptures by masters of art, the Frick Collection is a must see!
Reference: The Frick Collection, Listening Guide, 2014.