New Volume in Frick Diptych Series Focuses on Titian’s Pietro Aretino

Portrait of Man, bearded, wearing a robe and gold chain

New York (April 27, 2021)—The Frick Collection announces the sixth title in its popular Diptych series. The new volume, available at Frick Madison and through the museum’s website, focuses on Titian’s extraordinary portrait of the famed Italian writer, poet, playwright, and satirist Pietro Aretino. Each book in this series focuses on a single work in the Frick’s collection and includes an essay by a curator complemented by a contribution from a contemporary cultural figure.

Written by Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, and acclaimed author Francine Prose, this new book takes as its subject the celebrated and notorious figure who earned the nickname the “scourge of princes” for his satirical writings on the rich and powerful. After moving to Venice in 1527, Aretino befriended Titian, who went on to paint three portraits of the writer and included his likeness in two other larger works. The portrait in the Frick’s collection, apparently painted in just three days, conveys Aretino’s intellectual power and presents him as a richly robed figure wearing a gold chain given to him as a gift from a patron. Salomon’s essay delves into the complex relationship between the artist and the sitter as well as publisher Francesco Marcolini, who commissioned the portrait as a testament to his friendship with Aretino. A lyrical text by Prose addresses the virtues and vices of Aretino as a sharp-tongued Venetian, known to be a blackmailer.

About Frick Diptychs

Since 2018, the Frick has published six Diptych volumes, each connecting Old Master works with voices of today. The series is designed to foster critical engagement that is appealing to the specialist and non-specialist alike. Future titles will look at Fragonard’s Progress of Love, examined by Xavier F. Salomon and award-winning novelist Alan Hollinghurst; and Monet’s Vétheuil in Winter, considered by Frick Curator Emerita Susan Grace Galassi and artist Olafur Eliasson.

The inaugural Frick Diptych on Holbein’s 1527 portrait of the prominent Tudor-era figure Sir Thomas More pairs an essay by Xavier F. Salomon with a literary piece by the award-winning writer Hilary Mantel. In the second volume, Johannes Vermeer’s extraordinary Mistress and Maid (1666–67) is illuminated by an essay by the Frick’s former Associate Research Curator Peggy Iacono and an imagined storyline by James Ivory, film director, writer, and producer. In the third title, the Frick’s former Decorative Arts Curator Charlotte Vignon is joined by artist and bestselling author Edmund de Waal in considering a spectacular pair of porcelain and gilt-bronze candlesticks by Pierre Gouthière. The fourth diptych is devoted to Rembrandt’s enigmatic portrait of The Polish Rider. An essay by Salomon is accompanied by a charming illustrated essay by author and illustrator Maira Kalman. Published earlier this year, the fifth volume was the first of the series to focus on a landscape, Constable’s White Horse written by Frick Curator Aimee Ng with a meditation by artist William Kentridge.

The Diptych series is published by The Frick Collection in association with D Giles Ltd., London. It is sold online through the Museum Shop at or by emailing The series is also available at Frick Madison, the institution’s temporary new location during the renovation of its home on 70th Street.

Holbein’s Sir Thomas More by Hilary Mantel and Xavier F. Salomon
72 pages, 37 color illustrations, hardcover $17.95, member price $14.36

Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid by James Ivory and Margaret Iacono
64 pages, 30 color illustrations, hardcover $19.95, member price $15.96

Gouthière’s Candelabras by Edmund de Waal and Charlotte Vignon
64 pages, 27 color illustrations, hardcover $19.95, member price $15.96

Rembrandt’s Polish Rider by Maira Kalman and Xavier F. Salomon
84 pages; 48 color illustrations, hardcover $19.95, member price $15.96

Constable’s White Horse by William Kentridge and Aimee Ng
72 pages; 37 color illustrations, hardcover $24.95, member price $19.96

Titian’s Pietro Aretino by Francine Prose and Xavier F. Salomon
72 pages; 25 color illustrations, hardcover $24.95, member price $19.96


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