Elizabeth Peyton, James Fenton, Daniel Mendelsohn, and Nicolas Party Join Frick Director and Curators in Responding to Works from the Collection
Popular Diptych Series Continues with Four New Books on Titian, Riccio, Bronzino, and Rosalba Carriera
(New York, April 26, 2023) — The Frick Collection expands its popular Diptych series with four new titles—two already available, two to be published this summer. The books focus on Titian’s Portrait of a Man in a Red Hat, a bronze oil lamp modeled by Riccio, Bronzino’s Lodovico Capponi, and the recently acquired pastel Portrait of a Man in Pilgrim's Costume by Rosalba Carriera, all from the Frick’s permanent collection.
These 2023 publications—bringing the number of titles in the Diptych series to thirteen—provide fresh perspectives on Frick artworks by pairing art historical essays with contributions from contemporary cultural figures.
TITIAN’S MAN IN A RED HAT
Currently available in the Museum Shop at Frick Madison and online, Titian’s Man in a Red Hat focuses on an exquisite Italian Renaissance portrait from the 1510s. The book pairs an essay by the Frick’s Assistant Curator of Sculpture, Giulio Dalvit, with a selection of portraits by artist Elizabeth Peyton that traces her engagement with Titian over many decades.
Various identities for the richly dressed, contemplative young man in Titian’s portrait have been proposed, but none with any certainty. The mood of the subject and the diffused, gentle play of light over the broadly painted surfaces are strongly reminiscent of Titian’s contemporary Giorgione. In many ways, the Frick portrait epitomizes a new tendency in Italian Renaissance portraiture, one in which the depiction is intended less as an exact representation of the sitter than as an encounter between artist and subject. In his illuminating essay, Dalvit addresses the many questions of provenance, chronology, attribution, and the identity of this mysterious young man. His text is complemented by a series of portraits by Peyton that document her evolving relationship with Titian and Giorgione over a forty-year period.
RICCIO’S OIL LAMP
Pairing an engrossing essay by Ian Wardropper, the Frick’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director, with a new poem by renowned English poet and critic James Fenton, Riccio’s Oil Lamp focuses on a Renaissance masterpiece in bronze.
The form of the extraordinary lamp (ca. 1516–24), the most elaborate of several the artist produced, is based on an ancient Roman half-boot. Its surface is covered with intricate reliefs modeled with a goldsmith’s refinement and crisp detail. The subjects include deities, mortals, and motifs from classical art and poetry: a Nereid and Triton, Pan, harpies, and putti, along with goats, musical instruments, shells, masks, and garlands. As Wardropper discusses in his essay, the lamp would have given its owner both visual and tactile pleasure, as well as intellectual stimulation. Wardropper’s essay is complemented by a poem, beautifully crafted by Fenton.
BRONZINO’S LODOVICO CAPPONI – AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Bronzino’s Lodovico Capponi focuses on an enigmatic Renaissance portrait, pairing an essay by Frick Curator Aimee Ng with a moving piece by acclaimed author, critic, and essayist Daniel Mendelsohn.
Painted about 1550–55, Agnolo Bronzino’s elegant portrait depicts the young Florentine aristocrat Lodovico Capponi. Capponi wears black and white, his family’s armorial colors. His right index finger partially conceals the medal he holds, revealing the word sorte (“fate” or “fortune”)—evoking questions about the young man’s future. In the mid-1550s, Lodovico fell in love with Maddalena Vettori, whom Duke Cosimo I de Medici had intended as the wife for one of his cousins. After years of opposition, the duke relented, and Lodovico and Maddalena were married in 1558 with lavish celebrations. Complementing Ng’s text is a lyrical and personal essay by Mendelsohn, in which he looks closely at Bronzino's “glum and lordly” sitter.
ROSALBA CARRIERA’S MAN IN PILGRIM’S COSTUME – AVAILABLE AUGUST 2023
With an essay by Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, and text by Swiss artist Nicolas Party, this book focuses on a spectacular eighteenth-century pastel bequeathed to the museum in 2020 by Alexis Gregory, the founder of Vendome Press.
Party is the preeminent artist working with pastels today. In conjunction with the Diptych book—and in response to the Rosalba portrait—this June the Frick will debut a site-specific pastel mural created by Party at the museum’s temporary home, Frick Madison. In order to include images of the installation in the diptych, the volume will be published six to eight weeks after the opening of this keenly anticipated installation.
Despite the fragility of pastel, the Rosalba portrait, executed about 1730, is in pristine condition. Rosalba spent the entirety of her career in her native Venice and was celebrated during her lifetime throughout Europe for her pastel portraiture. Nothing is known about the sitter in the Frick drawing. He is portrayed as a pilgrim, wearing a black cape and holding a staff, which could indicate that he was a member of the Pellegrini family—pellegrini being the Italian word for “pilgrims.” More likely, his attire is simply a costume related to the Venetian Carnival.
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