Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How The Twains Have Met

De Kooning and Zao
Portrait of Willem de Kooning in his Long Island studio, New York, December 17, 1978. 
Photograph by Arnold Newman. 
© Arnold Newman / Getty Images
Courtesy of  Lévy Gorvy Gallery

Zao Wou-Ki in his studio, 1982. 
Photograph by Martine Franck. 
© Martine Franck/Magnum Photos
Courtesy of  Lévy Gorvy Gallery

William de Kooning (1904 - 1997) and Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013) never met during their lifetimes.  One, Dutch born, made his home in New York; the other, Chinese born, made Paris his home. They meet now in an exhibition at the Lévy Gorvy Gallery.*  This is the first exhibit for the newly formed gallery and the first presentation of paintings by these artists in one show.  The paintings invite contemplation not only about different formulations of abstract art but also about what abstract art can convey.


Willem de Kooning (1904 - 1997), Sail Cloth, 1949, 
oil, enamel, charcoal, and graphite on board,
27 x 32 ins. (68.6 x 81.2 cm)
Private collection
Photograph by Elisabeth Bernstein
Courtesy of  Lévy Gorvy Gallery

Twenty paintings, including five museum loans, are handsomely installed on three floors of the gallery's building.  Two early works, de Kooning's Sail Cloth from 1949 and Zao's Untitled  from the same year, set the stage for the Dutch-American and Chinese-French dialogue.   Both artists creating their own expression of landscape art.

Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013), Untitled, 1949, oil on cardboard, 
17 7/8 x 21 1/2 ins. (45.5 x 54.5 cm),
Private collection
Photograph by Patrick Goetelen
Courtesy of  Lévy Gorvy Gallery  

De Kooning's heritage is European, specifically Western figurative representation.  Although influenced by modern art in general, his contemporary Arshile Gorky impacted him the most.  Sail Cloth's biomorphic forms and inherent suggestions of nature attest to Gorky's significance.  


Zao came out of a tradition of Chinese painting and Eastern calligraphy but was highly  affected by modern masters such as Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso.  He owes much to Paul Klee's inventive pictorial language with its emphasis on drawing and color relations.  



Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013),  Montagne déchirée (shattered mountain), 1955-1956,
 oil on canvas, 51 3/16 x 79 3/4 ins. (130 x 202.6 cm),
Collection Walker Art Center,
Minneapolis.  Gift of T.B. Walker Foundation, 1956
Photograph: Artwell Guide website 

In works like Montagne déchirée (shattered mountain), Zao transports viewers to distant landscapes of mists and mountains not unlike the landscapes of the great Song period paintings.  Calligraphic surface strokes evoke Chinese characters as well as small figures and vessels in the distant haze.  

Zao once said, "I like people to be able to stroll in my works as I do when creating them."  His canvases do evoke a sense of such depth that strolling in them may be possible.  Moreover, they impart a feeling of swimming in shimmering or turbulent waters.  Zao's good friend the poet, writer and painter Henri Michaux made the sea/water/waves an important aspect of his poetry.  In his 1935 collection La nuit remue (The night is stirring) swimming is likened to freedom.  In Laziness Michaux writes about the soul loving to swim - leaving the body to swim as an act of liberation.  He speaks about the waters rising and falling - losing the self as the ground "seems to fall away under your feet."  Take a look at Zao's 1956 La nuit remue (the night is stirring), named, no doubt, with his friend's poems in mind. Sensations of being lost in a watery abyss fluctuate with impressions of a dizzying foreign landscape while black, linear text-like marks return the visitor to the surface. 



Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013), La nuit remue (the night is stirring), 1956, 
oil on canvas, 76 x 51 3/16 ins. (193 x 130 cm),
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Kootz
Courtesy The Art Institute of Chicago

Paintings like these connect Zao to Peter Paul Rubens' rich oils such as Rubens' Hero and Leander paintings.**  When Zao uses a sunnier palate, such as his 1976 05-03-76***, links to the seascapes of J. M. W. Turner predominate.

De Kooning's oils also look back to Rubens taking more of the seventeenth-century artist's action-packed nature along with his painterly tactility and sensuality. 


Willem de Kooning (1904 - 1997), Door to the River, 1960, 
oil on linen, 80 1/8 x 70 1/8 ins. (203.5 x 178.1 cm)
Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 60.63
Digital Image © Whitney Museum, N.Y
Courtesy of  Lévy Gorvy Gallery

The artist's Dutch heritage is evidenced in works like the Whitney Museum of American Art's Door to the River or the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden's Untitled.  A door,  house, tree, grey sky or river may be discerned as the scene brings to mind landscapes of the seventeenth-century  Golden Age of Dutch painting. 


Willem de Kooning (1904 - 1997), Untitled XVI, 1976, 
oil on canvas, 60 3/8 x 54 1/8 ins. (153.4 x 137.5 cm),
PrivateCollection
Photograph by Tom Powel Imaging
Courtesy of  Lévy Gorvy Gallery

For de Kooning, however, landscape mostly evolved from his paintings of women.  He said, "The landscape is in the Woman and there is Woman in the landscape."  The fleshy quality to the artist's paint - color and texture - conjures imagery of the female nude.  As his abstract landscapes developed, its ties to the female body become less and less clear.  Movement and the sense of touch is never lost.


Form and formless, figurative and abstraction, always play out in de Kooning's work.   As such, Zao may be considered the more abstract of the two painters.  Wait.  This conclusion is perhaps the result of a Western sensibility.  An Eastener's response may find the de Koonings' work more abstract.  


Allow this writer to digress and address those readers who question abstract painting's ability to mean or convey anything.  Think of music, which is probably the most abstract of art, and architecture.  Without words or palpable representation, these art forms are capable of communicating a variety of feelings and experiences.  Musical notes, melodies, harmonies and tempos can elicit from listeners at times sadness or happiness or triumph or excitement. Music may cause a recall of an event not formerly thought of and/or induce a sense of well-being or discord.  In a similar way, a building's configuration of verticals, horizontals, volumes, colors and apertures can communicate cheerfulness, comfort, unease or power.  Such is also the case for abstract painting.  It is expressive even in its renouncing the depiction of reality.  People can and do respond.  With lines, colors, textures and compositional variation, these paintings make a bond with the beholder, transmitting visually what music can do through the ear.  As for its value?


This brings up the classic study of abstract and representational art by the German art historian Wilheim Worringer (1881 - 1965).  His book Abstraction and Empathy, first published in Germany in 1908 and issued in English in the United States of America in 1953, had an enormous impact on art and criticism.  Worringer saw the beauty both in art that produced realistic depictions of the world and art that suppressed illusionism - did not depict the "real" but created abstractions.  Empathy, the life-like portrayals of the observable, and abstraction, the repression of real-life representation or the expression of the essences of things - are, according to Worringer, two forms of the human artistic experience. He suggested that empathy comes to the fore when there is harmony between mankind and the world - man has confidence in his surroundings.   Abstraction comes about during social upheavals, unrest when man is in conflict with outside world and is unsure.  At such times, reducing the observable to their fundamentals is man's aim and the result is abstraction.  Throughout the course of art, the pendulum swings between these two tendencies. Worringer's words are worth considering.  


Visit the Willem De Kooning Zao Wou-Ki at Lévy Gorvy Gallery and delve into abstraction at its finest.  


*In December, 2016 Brett Gorvy, former auction house Christie's Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, joined the Dominique Lévy Gallery in an equal partnership with the dealer Dominique Lévy to form
the Lévy Gorvy (ĹG) Gallery.   The Lévy Gorvy Gallery occupies the entire landmark 1930s former bank building which previously housed the Dominique Lévy Gallery and Galerie Perrotin.  The Galerie Perrotin's new New York space at 130 Orchard Street opens this spring.


**See the versions at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut and the Gemaldegalerie, Dresden.


***For an excellent digital image of Zao's painting 05-03-76, see Christie's Auction House Asian Contemporary Art & Chinese 20th Century Art (Evening Sale), 29 November 2009, Hong Kong, Lot 1005.

Willem De Kooning
Zao Wou-Ki
January 19, 2017 - March 11, 2017
909 Madison Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday,
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mondays by Appointment

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pairings Highlight the Sculptural in a Painter's Art

Chamberlain and de Kooning

Mnuchin Gallery, Installation View, 
Chamberlain / De Kooning Exhibit (November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017),
Photo:  Tom Powel Imaging, Mnuchin Gallery Website

You can count on the Mnuchin Gallery to mount thought-provoking exhibits.  Such is the case of the current show, Chamberlain / De Kooning where eleven John Chamberlain (1927 - 2011) crushed and bent metal configurations are paired with seven Willem de Kooning (1904 - 1997) fluid canvases.  The gallery's well-proportioned townhouse rooms afford an intimate setting to compare the painter's and sculptor's work.  


 Mnuchin Gallery, Installation View, 
Chamberlain / De Kooning Exhibit (November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017),
Photo: Tom Powel Imaging,  Mnuchin Gallery Website
  
Chamberlain is said to have turned Abstract Expressionist painting into sculpture.  Touches of paint on his crumbled, manipulated car parts and debris evoke action painting and emphasize his indebtedness to the brushstrokes of the movement's painters.  


Mnuchin Gallery, Installation View, 
Chamberlain / De Kooning Exhibit (November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017),
Photo:  Tom Powel Imaging, Mnuchin Gallery Website

De Kooning, of course, is the towering figure of Abstract Expressionism.  He is the consummate master painter whose Museum of Modern Art's de Kooning:  A Retrospective, September 18, 2011 - January 9, 2012, New York, offered seven decades of inventiveness and thrilling creativity.  

Mnuchin Gallery, Installation View, 
Chamberlain / De Kooning Exhibit (November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017),
Photo:  Tom Powel Imaging, Mnuchin Gallery Website

The pairing of Chamberlain and de Kooning has been done in the past. In 2001, the Pace Gallery exhibited Willem de Kooning and John Chamberlain: Influence and Transformation.*  The show accentuated the two artists' strong connections.  Oils on canvas and steel arrangements corresponded in colors and pictorial gestures.  Likeness was the key word here expressed in an astutely handled installation of well-chosen works. 



Mnuchin Gallery, Installation View, 
Chamberlain / De Kooning Exhibit (November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017),
Photo:  Tom Powel Imaging, Mnuchin Gallery Website

The Mnuchin exhibit makes evident a different viewpoint.  Links between the artworks such as coloration and forms of layering abound but an important distinction stands out.  De Kooning's work appears more spacious, more three-dimensional than Chamberlain's actual sculptures in three dimensions.  The latter's pieces seem to constrict spatial expansion.  Metal planes are compressed creating narrow spatial relationships not unlike the compositional characteristic of sixteenth-century Mannerist art.  The sculptures displace volume but do not appear to extend any further than their outlines.  De Kooning's oils on the other hand explore and open up space. His canvases expand inward and have great depth.   Their space is almost palpable.  Spend time in front of the paintings.  Follow a line here and there.  Try to see a back plane.  The paintings seem never ending.



Mnuchin Gallery, Installation View, 
Chamberlain / De Kooning Exhibit (November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017),
Photo:  Tom Powel Imaging, Mnuchin Gallery Website
   
The exhibit brings out de Kooning's formidable strengths which can overpower the sculptures.  As for Chamberlain, the show raised some questions and desires.  Wall protrusions, the sparkle/glitter of paint, mirror polished aluminum bring to mind another artist.  This reviewer would like to see an exhibition of Chamberlain sculptures and Frank Stella's Indian and Exotic Bird series of 1978 - 79 and, perhaps, Stella's Circuits series of the early 1980s based on the artist's love of car racing. Is there or is there not a relationship?  A comprehensive Chamberlain retrospective which would include the artist's sculptures as well as his paintings, drawings, prints and photographs is long over due.  

Another de Kooning pairing is coming to New York soon.  His work will be seen alongside paintings by the Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki (1920 - 2013)
at the Lévy Gorvy (ĹG) Gallery, formerly the Dominique Lévy Gallery.**  The exhibit, Willem De Kooning Zao Wou-Ki, opens January 19, 2017 and runs through March 11, 2017. Until then, take a look at Zao's paintings currently at the Asia Society Museum in the exhibition No Limits Zao Wou-Ki.  



*At this time, the Pace Gallery was known as PaceWildenstein Gallery.  From 1993 - 2010, Pace operated with the old master gallery Wildenstein & Co.


**Brett Gorvy, former auction house Christie's Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, will join the Dominique Lévy Gallery in an equal partnership with the dealer Dominique Lévy.  The gallery will be known as the Lévy Gorvy (ĹG) Gallery.  Dominique Lévy had previously been partnered with Robert Mnuchin (M&L Gallery now the Mnuchin Gallery) but left in 2013 to start her own gallery.  

Chamberlain / De Kooning
November 2, 2016 - January 28, 2017
45 East 78th Street, Manhattan
Hours:  
Tuesday - Saturday,
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Or By Appointment


No Limits
Zao Wou-Ki
September 9, 2016 - January 8, 2017
725 Park Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday, 
11 am - 6 pm 
Friday 11 am - 9 pm (September through June)
Closed Mondays and major holidays


Willem De Kooning
Zao Wou-Ki
January 19, 2017 - March 11, 2017
909 Madison Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday,
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mondays by Appointment

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Guido Who? Part II

Cagnacci - The Other Side of Baroque

Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation    
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media

The following is a continuation of the ArtWithHillary blog post October 31, 2016 concerning the The Frick Collection's exhibition Cagnacci’s "Repentant Magdalene”: An Italian Baroque Masterpiece from the Norton Simon Museum.  

In the late 1650s, while Guido Cagnacci was still working in Venice, he was invited to Vienna.  The invitation probably came from the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, uncle of Emperor Leopold I. In northern Europe, there was a taste for erotic subject matter. This was particularly true for the Austrian Court.  Cagnacci's specialty of semi-nude beauties would have much appeal.  The court also had enthusiasm for Venetian art.  As a consequence, there were many Venetian painters working in Vienna. Cagnacci joined them.  

The artist's big opportunity came in 1660 - 61.  The Emperor asked him for a painting of the Mary Magdalene with four full-length figures.  The result was the Norton Simon's Repentant Magdalene.  


The Magdalene painting was to set right some hostile criticism of Cagnacci.  The painter had been accused of an inability to paint anything but half-length figures.  As if to quell his critics, for the emperor, Cagnacci painted five not four full-length figures:  Mary and her sister Martha seated next to her, two servants at the room's open door as well as an angel chasing away a devil. Actually, there may have been six figures for a detailed analysis of the painting indicated that there may have been a third servant at the doorway who was eliminated in the final composition.

The story of Mary Magdalene is really an amalgamation of many biblical references to a person or persons called Mary.  The illustrious Italian poet, prose writer, satirist and dramatist Pietro Aretino (1492 - 1556) wrote a sixteenth-century best seller that included a description of Mary Magdalene's life which was a synthesis of the bible's Marys. The book was published in several editions. Scholars have noted that Cagnacci's Repenitant Magdalene closely follows the Aretino narrative.  Since the  painting looks like a tableau vivant or a stage set, it has been proposed that Cagnacci based his painting on seventeenth-century religous plays about the Magdalene that were sourced from Aretino's much admired text.  



Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 

Cagnacci painted directly from posed models.  He reused his models in different paintings or as different characters in the same work.  In the Repentant Magdalene, Magdalene, Martha, and the angel appear to be the identical person.*  

Cagnacci's Magdalene painting is set in a luxurious room with an oriental rug and three sumptuous damask cushions.  The scene describes the moments after Mary Magdalene's conversion to Christianity.    Mary had led a sinful life as a courtesan.  Her sister Martha, already a Christ adherent, had urged Mary to go to the temple to hear Christ speak. Mary was so taken with what she heard that she promptly gave up her immoral ways.  Overcome with emotion, she went back home to her room, disrobed and threw her clothes and jewels on the floor.  Mary's hysterical state shocked her servants. Martha, finding her sister in this condition, sought to console her. She points to the angel and devil in the background as if explaining their symbolic meaning:  Virtue overcoming Vice.  The combination of allegory and the story of the repentant Magdalene in one painting is an invention of the artist.  



Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
 oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 

The devil, with tail and horns, floats in the air.  He looks toward Mary and Martha, biting his fingers in a gesture of anger.  The demon has lost one sinner and is about to be expelled right out of the picture frame.  


The angel, holding a rod like a baseball bat, pursues the devil.**  This heavenly being has the body of a classical god whose sex is concealed by a banner-like drapery.  A divine wind from the left blows the angel's covering cloth into a decorative s-shape; causes his golden ringlets to fly backward; and, ruffles the feathers of his impressive wings. 


Raking light comes from a closed window on the left which spotlights the painting's main figures.  Light also comes from the open door on the right which leads to a loggia or balcony.  A terra-cotta pot with a carnation plant rests on the ledge of the outdoor baluster's top rail. The plant has not blossomed.  Its buds are symbolic of rebirth or new beginnings and allude not only to Mary's new life but also to Christ's Passion.  Legend has it that the carnation plant sprung from the Virgin Mary's tears as they fell to the ground. Her weeping caused by Jesus's plight.  A further association with the Passion is the plant's buds.  In Italian, because of their shape, carnation buds are called "little nails" - nails like those used for Christ's crucifixion.   



Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
 oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 

Two female servants are leaving the room.  One of them, with her back to the interior, is closing one side of the double entry door.  She looks toward the scene taking place inside. The other maid is crying. With her left hand she dries her tears and in her right hand, between thumb and index fingers, she holds a small glass jar filled with translucent liquid. The maid with her back to the protagonists has been interpretive as representing Vanity; the tearful one as Contrition. A strong breeze from the outside moves the women's garments from right to left in opposition to the supernal current streaming towards the angel.  


Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
 oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 

On the floor of the room, between and behind Mary and Martha, are an empty alabaster jar, its lid next to it and tresses of Mary's long blond hair.  These elements together with the servant's container point to the biblical account of Mary Magdalene at the house of the Pharisee Simon. There she washed Christ's feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and covered them with perfumed oils.


Cagnaccio's splendid abilities to depict objects in various materials and forms are illustrated throughout the work.  Mary's disheveled outfit, shoes and jewels as well as a jewelry box spread across the floor are tours de force of the painter's still life skills.  



 Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
 oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 

The Magdalene's blue and white brocade dress has weight and substance.  Gold jewelry spills out of her overturned ornate oval jewel box whose tactile quality is truly remarkable.  

   Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
 oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 


The blue and gold shoes are so well defined that their interior nails are visible.  The pointed shape has caused a redness on Mary's toes where the shoes no doubt had pinched her feet.  

 Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
 oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media  

In her haste to reject all worldly goods, Mary had ripped off a pearl rope necklace, breaking the string and causing loose pearls to scatter on the ground.  Nearby there are at least seven rings, pearl earrings and various bracelets and other necklaces.  Mary holds one long gold chain, partly twisted about her right wrist, like a rosary.


Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation
Photo:  Courtesy of the Frick Collection Media 

Passages of beauty are found throughout - take note of the way hands and fingers are described and the renderings of cloth in motion.  Finger nails, knees, elbows, ears and flesh offer more confirmation of the the artist's talents. Colors are at times dazzling and, at times, subtle yet all is harmonious.  Naturalism is tempered with idealism.

Cagnacci must have been very proud of the painting for he signed his name in the lower right "GUIDO CAGNACCI INVENTOR" as if to emphasize his compositional innovation. 


The Repentant Magdalene was the artist's last achievement.  He died in Vienna in 1663 just a couple of years after the painting was begun. Seemingly, Cagnacci left no workshop or followers. 


At the 
Frick, the painting is superbly installed on the west wall of the East Gallery allowing for close observation.  Another view is offered from the center of the West Gallery.  From here, the ornate arched doorways of the Oval Room, which separates the East and West Galleries, perfectly frame the masterpiece.  The scene appears even more stage-like and the blues of the West Gallery's two Paolo Veroneses connect to the blues of the Cagnacci work - sky, angel's cloth and Mary's crumpled dress.  


Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), Detail of The Repentant Magdalene, ca. 1660 - 1663,
oil on canvas, 90 1/4 x 104 3/4 in. (229.2 x 266.1 cm),
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
© Norton Simon Art Foundation    
Photo:  L'Art Magique Web site 

What led this artist to be forgotten?  The answer may be a combination of several factors.  One may have been Cagnacci's imagery which was perhaps too prurient for some subsequent generations. The Norton Simon Magdalene could be a Playboy centerfold.  Another problem may be Cagnacci's origins.  He worked most of his life in Italian small towns.  Art historical studies have traditionally neglected provincial areas - provincial being associated with insignificance.  Attention to these regions and their artists is a relatively new scholarly pursuit. Lastly, the artist's apparent lack of a studio meant no one was there to carry on his work.  Be that as it may, Cagnacci is becoming known. The recently published The Art of Guido Cagnacci by Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator of the Frick Collection is a well-written, informative guide to the artist.  Copies are available for visitors at the exhibit.  

There are only four paintings by Cagnacci in public collections in the United States.  These include the Norton Simon Magdalene and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's recently acquired Death of Cleopatra (Gallery 601).***  Cagnacci's Death of Cleopatra from the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, will be on public display at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York f
rom December 2, 2016 though January 19, 2017.  Thus for almost two months, three Cagnaccis will be within easy walking distance on Manhattan's upper east side.  Take advantage.  Go see all three.


One additional suggestion:  while visiting the Cagnacci Cleopatra at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Gallery 601, take a look at the works by artists who influenced him.  Canvases by Guido Reni, Guercino and Ludovico Carracci are in the same Gallery 601.  Other Ludovico Carraccis are in the adjacent Gallery 623.  Titians, Veroneses, and Tintorettos are located in Gallery 607 and the Raphael altarpiece in Gallery 609.  Although the affect of these artists can be discerned in Cagnacci's art, he transformed their influences into something uniquely his own.  Enjoy.  

*This same model is very likely the Cleopatra in Cagnacci's Death of Cleopatra in the Kunsthisorisches Museum, Vienna.  This work was part of the collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria.

Guido Cagnacci (1601 - 1663), The Death of Cleopatra, ca. 1659  -1663,
oil on canvas, 55.12  × 62.72 in (1593 x 1400 cm)
The Kunsthisorisches Museum, Vienna

**Cagnacci's angel is based on Michelangelo's figure of Charon in the Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel, Vatican.

Michelangelo (1475 - 1564), Detail of the Last Judgment, 1536 - 1541, 
fresco, 539.4 × 480.3 in. (1,370 × 1,220 cm)
Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome
Photo:  Italian Renaissance Art Website

***The pearl earrings of Cleopatra in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Death of Cleopatra appear to be the same earrings Cagnacci depicted on the floor in the Norton Simon Museum's The Repentant Magdalene.  

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Cagnacci’s “Repentant Magdalene”: An Italian Baroque Masterpiece 
October 25, 2016 to January 22, 2017

1 East 70th Street, Manhattan
Tuesday through Saturday, 
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sundays, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays and holidays

On the first Friday evening of the month (except January), 
the museum is open until 9 p.m.  


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