Hats Off To The Frick

Possibly a poet or poet's muse, by Parmigianino.

Possibly a poet or poet’s muse, by Parmigianino.

We headed out to the Frick to see Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca.” The sitter was misidentified in the 1700s as a Turkish slave (most likely because of her turban-like headdress) and the appellation stuck. We felt a little bad for her, even with her stylish hat and ostrich feather fan, she just didn’t command the round-the-block crowd Vermeer’s “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” had gotten earlier this year.

This is the first time “Schiava Turca” has been shown in the U.S. and you should visit just to look at her improbably elegant, mannerist hand. The painting is shown with four Renaissance portraits of men, but we think it would have been more fun to present her alongside Comtess Daru by Jacques-Louis David. Comtess Daru dons one of our all-time favorite examples of the milliner’s art as depicted in a painting. You can see her in the adjacent gallery.

The "jolly" Comtess Daru by Jacques-Louis David

The “jolly” Comtess Daru by Jacques-Louis David

Also at the Frick is a wonderful surprise in the installation of “Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection.” The bronzes are exhibited without the barrier of vitrine glass. This makes for an unusually intimate experience with the work. But it’s the juxtaposition of the bronzes with the painting “17th century” by Ed Ruscha that gives the exhibition real punch. Ruscha’s wall-spanning canvas of a brooding sky declares in Gothic typeface “war!” “alchemy!” “taxes!” “plague!” among other words evocative of the seventeenth century. There are a few other late 20th century works on display that refer to and enliven consideration of the bronzes, these include a couple by Cy Twombly. We heartily recommend a visit…

The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca” will be on view to July 20, 2014.

Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes form the Hill Collection until June 15, 2014.

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