Frick to Show Contemporary Digital Work in Conjunction with Old Masters from the Mauritshuis

framed still life of vase full of colorful flowers

In a fairly unprecedented move for The Frick Collection―a museum known for its Old Masters―a contemporary digital work by British husband and wife team Rob and Nick Carter will be shown as a complement to Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis.  By presenting this contemporary work alongside fifteen celebrated seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, the Frick offers an opportunity to consider the way in which Dutch Golden Age works continue to influence artists today.  Indeed, the Carters’ work, Transforming Still Life Painting, a digitally rendered film, is their twenty-first-century rejoinder to the vanitas tradition.  The work is directly inspired by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder’s (1573–1621) Vase of Flowers in a Window of about 1618 (a painting in the Mauritshuis’s collection but not included in the present exhibition).  The famous still life features a vase of fastidiously described flowers displayed on a windowsill, behind which a bright sky and picturesque seventeenth-century landscape are visible.  The Carters’ mesmerizing film literally transforms the genre by animating the nature morte.  In the course of three hours, Bosschaert’s image changes gradually before our eyes: flowers whither, insects devour the tender foliage, and darkness descends on the distant mountains and river.  Like the Old Master painting, which urged viewers to consider the future of the delicate bouquet, the film depicts the transient nature of earthly existence—a timeless message conveyed by modern means.  Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals will be on view in the Oval Room and East Gallery from October 22, 2013, through January 19, 2014, and Transforming Still Life Painting will be shown during the same period in the Frick’s Multimedia Room, off of the nearby Garden Court.   With this presentation, the work makes its U.S. debut.


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