Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Met and the Frick

Actually we went to the Met before Le B. I had been there 5 years earlier, as well as the Frick and what I most wanted to see in these museums on my 2nd visit were the Vermeers, which had so enchanted me when I first saw them. In the last episode of his recent PBS series, Bill Moyers talked with one of my favourite authors, Barry Lopez, who described moving to NYC as a child and seeing the Vermeers at the Frick and the world of aesthetics opening up to him at that time.
I also wanted to see the Egyptian wing, especially any statues of the Cat god Bastet which first sparked my interest in Egypt in 3rd grade in 1959. In one of their Hour Hour radio shows in 1970, after a trip to the East Coast, Firesign Theatre members David Ossman and Phil Austin talked about going to a room in the Met they described as a hobbit room. I was determined to find it, and still make our lunch reservations at Le B.
Although I speedily viewed everything in the Egyptian wing, (I liked some paintings of hawks that looked like Art Nouveau a few millennia early) I couldn't find any statues of Bastet.
I did find one cat that didn't exactly inspire worship. The Vermeer, however....

Young woman with water pitcher is one of the best Vermeers (and thus, best pix). “The artist achieved a quite balance of primary colours and simple shapes. These subtle calculations …in the execution of the work.” The hat/shall surrounding the woman’s face make it look like a hovering ufo, or the moon with a face.
The Met has 3 more Vermeers, Allegory of the Catholic Faith, which has great blues in it but the woman's face is bizarre. Even more bizarre than the women's face is the other 2 Vermeers,
Study of a Young Woman and Woman with a Lute, both of whose heads look more like skulls than living women. Intentional? Still, it was worth coming all the way to NYC from Vancouver to gaze upon the woman with the water pitcher.

Hart room is the earliest … room in the American wing. Its exposed oak timbers, large fireplace and small cavement windows are typical of 17th cent New England interiors. The room is furnished in fine examples of late 17th century Mass. furniture. Home of Samuel and Sarah Norton Hart of Ipswich, Mass. 1680.

I deduce this is the room that Ossman and Austin were referring to when they visited this museum 40 years ago.

This Wentworth room, next oldest in age of the period rooms, looks like where Bilbo would entertain his non-hobbit sized friends.

After the astonishing food at Le Bernardin mentioned in a previous blogpost, we walked over to the Frick collection to see this:

There were more Vermeers, but this one stood out for me. The woman looks so happy!
I watched a few minutes of a film being shown on a room at the Frick, about the collection. The film said that Mr. Frick was particularly interested in collecting images of beautiful women. Although there were many beautiful women walking around the gallery, I didn't see any in the paintings. This woman at least looks happy, as happy as I was after the divine meal I'd just consumed.


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