It is a small show in quantity but a major one in quality. The Frick Collection is exhibiting “Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum” (February 9-May 10, 2009). There are five works on display from the Pasadena, California, museum, works that haven’t been away from the Norton Simon in nearly thirty years.
Thanks to this arrangement, the visitor to the Frick can gaze at the following: Jacopo Bassano’s 16th century “Flight Into Egypt;” Peter Paul Rubens’ early 17th century “Holy Women at the Sepulchre;” Guercino’s 17th Century “Aldrovandi Dog;” Francisco de Zurbarán’s 17th century “Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose,” and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s 17th century “Birth of Saint John the Baptist.”
While all are impressive in their own way, the standouts are “Flight into Egypt,” which is rich in detail and still-dazzling color, “Holy Women at the Sepulchre,” which has intrigued art historians as to who are depicted, and “Birth of St. John the Baptist,” with its sensitive and fascinating interpretation and accomplished shadings of light.
One views these masterworks in an ideal area, an intimate room in which one can study each painting carefully and appreciate its greatness. Of course, any visit to the Frick enables one to enjoy anew and linger in the absolutely lovely courtyard. At The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street. Phone: 212-288-0700.