Men in Armor: El Greco and Pulzone Face to Face

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Exhibition Dates:

August 5 through October 26, 2014

oil painting of standing man in armor with green pants and helmet on floor, arms akimbo

El Greco’s Vincenzo Anastagi, acquired a century ago by Henry Clay Frick, is one of The Frick Collection’s most celebrated paintings and one of only two full-length portraits by the master. It was executed during the artist’s six-year stay in Rome, before he moved to Spain, where he spent the rest of his career. Much of the force of this work emanates from the resplendent half-armor worn by Anastagi. Rich highlights applied with broad brushstrokes accentuate the steel, its metallic sheen contrasting with the velvety texture of Anastagi’s green breeches and the dark crimson curtain. To mark the 400th anniversary of El Greco’s death, the Frick will pair Vincenzo Anastagi with the rarely seen Jacopo Boncompagni by the artist’s Roman contemporary Scipione Pulzone. With its gleaming, highly detailed polish, Pulzone’s portrait of Boncompagni, on loan from a private collection, epitomizes the elegant style that dominated high-society portraiture in Rome during the last quarter of the sixteenth century. El Greco’s painterly portrayal of Anastagi stands in stark contrast, underscoring the artist’s innovative departures from convention. The exhibition, held in the Frick’s East Gallery, is organized by Jeongho Park, Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow. It is generously funded by gifts from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Sidney R. Knafel and Londa Weisman in memory of Vera and Walter A. Eberstadt.  

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