NYC – a large dose of inspiration

Bronze statue of Artemis and a deer - Greek or Roman, Late Hellenistic or early Imperial, 1st cent. BC or 1st cent. AD
Bronze statue of Artemis and a deer – Greek or Roman, Late Hellenistic or early Imperial, 1st cent. BC or 1st cent. AD – Metropolitan Museum of Art

Now that I’ve discovered Megabus and Hostel International, I’m going to New York more often. My museum-buddy Judy and I got on an early-morning Shortline on Wednesday this last week, and headed for the Frick to see the Piero della Francesca exhibit. I’ve been determined to see it since hearing about it, and a della Francesca devotee since first seeing a slide of his Resurrection in college art history class. I hadn’t been to the Frick in years, nor to The City much. First we went to the Morgan, at Judy’s suggestion… and Judy dropped her wallet in the taxi, as we discovered after the cabbie had driven away. But as she started phoning around to lock up credit cards, etc., I wandered around the Morgan Library — first, the library itself, and then the exhibit called Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando.

Edgar Degas - Mlle. La La at the Cirque Fernando, 1879, oils on canvas, 46.1×30.5" - National Gallery, London
Edgar Degas – Mlle. La La at the Cirque Fernando, 1879, oils on canvas, 46.1×30.5″ – National Gallery, London

Fascinating, and what an inspiration — nearly all of Degas’ working sketches and studies for the painting, as well as the painting itself, were hung together in a small second-floor gallery, along with related works by other artists. Recently I’ve been researching Degas’ working methods, planning to pull together a painting course called Painting Like the Impressionists, and I couldn’t have found a better show if I’d planned for it.

Piero della Francesca - Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, c. 1460-70, oil (and tempera?) on poplar panel, transferred to fabric on panel, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Piero della Francesca – Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, c. 1460-70, oil (and tempera?) on poplar panel, transferred to fabric on panel, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Then it was on to the Frick, and della Francesca. Most of his great works are frescoes (painted into wet plaster walls) in Italy, but he did some work on panel and on canvas, and a few pieces are in the US. It was these latter that the Frick had pulled together. And it was magical. Spell-binding. What can I say? Go see it if you can!

On our way to a restaurant for an early dinner, Judy’s phone rang — it was her sister in Michigan, who had just received a call from a young man who’d found the wallet on the cab floor! Further phone calls resulted in his promise to drop it off at the hostel for her. He showed up just in time for us to confirm our hostel reservations that night. New York is truly a city of miracles.

Another of those is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we spent the entire day on Thursday. I hadn’t been there for several years, hadn’t had that much time there in many years if ever. The Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibit was a stunner, and the huge early Monets were a revelation in bold, bright brushwork.

Claude Monet - Luncheon on the Grass (left and central panels)
Claude Monet – Luncheon on the Grass (left and central panels), 1865–66
Oil on canvas; 164.5×59″, 98 x 86″ – Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Judy and I lost each other for a couple of hours at the Met, but evening saw us back on the 3-hour bus ride to Binghamton, where my sweetie was waiting at the bus station (having driven us there at ugly-o’clock the previous morning). Have to go back, and soon.

I rested for a day afterwards, and then painted up a storm yesterday.

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