At the Frick the two legs of a challenging relation: monumentality and dynamics in the Hill’s collection


The collection of Janine and J. Tomilson Hill is generally known for the many masterpieces of art from the second half of the 20th century it preserves. But thanks to the exhibition opened two days ago at the Frick Collection (Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection, until june 15th), the attention that the current powerful vice-president of the Blackstone group and his wife have for bronze statuettes produced from the Renaissance to the Baroque period is finally unearthed; with the advise of Pat Wengraf the couple have collected works by famous artists such as Andrea Riccio, Giambologna, Adriaen de Vries, or lesser-known ones, like Caspar Gras and Hans Reichle.


Details about the collection are provided by FT’s art expert Susan Moore, who probably had the chance to visit the collector’s house. But from our point of view the engaging key of the exhibition is of course the relationship between ancient and contemporary art that seems to be based on two legs. The first one, sharply pointed out by Moore, is monumentality (even in small scale). The second one is an aesthetic category too: dynamics.


The topic of “dynamic” can be perfectly grasped in the dialogue between the “Bacchic man wearing a grotesque mask” by Adrien de Vries and Cy Twombly’s “Untitled” from 1959 (as seen in the image). The four accumulations of lines on the canvas describing a semi circle on the left side perfectly reflect the bronze’s head, left arm and legs, going through a kind of tension, or rigidity. Moreover, if you look carefully, the Twombly’s seem to map the glares of light on the lucid surface of the sculpture.


A dialogue of the same kind is set between the “Prince Ferdinando di Cosimo III on horseback” by Giuseppe Piamontini and another untiled work by Twombly that, in this case, provides a perfect “psychological” background for this too relaxed nose-up of the penultimate Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany.





January 31, 2014