Duke of Berry, Mrs. Potiphar & 2 Frinks

Franken, Duke of Berry.We journeyed to the Gettseum to inspect Duke Berry’s Good Hours. Nor did we did not fail in our objective. But no pictures for you. Cameras were prohibited in this exhibit because the little illuminated pages (about the size of a trade paperback) were on loan from The Cloisters and the curators of The Cloisters are very, very bashful. The enormous banner hanging from the ceiling was fair game, though, and so we present you with a detail from the Limbourg Brothers’ depiction of seafarers rescued by St. Nicholas. They drew it for Duke Berry about 1405.

Some of the pages in the exhibition are in two-sided glass frames set upright on pedestals so you can walk them around and see both the “recto” (which is either the front or the back, I forget) and the “verso” (which is either the front or the back, I forget). Sts. Catherine (she of the wheel), Jerome (Mr. Vulgate), Paul (of the Desert), John (the Baptist), and assorted penitents are depicted in other-worldly pre-perspective, Escher-like settings. Duke Berry himself makes an appearance astride a white horse, but, oddly, only half in the frame. I’d love to show you, but, well, the curators of The Cloisters are very, very shy.

Talk to the hand, Mrs. Potiphar.We breezed through another exhibit, this one displaying Baroque ostentation where we were pleased to see the painting of Cardinal Roberto Ubaldino by Guido Reni that appears behind Steve Martin when he skates through LACMA in the film L.A. Story.

We especially enjoyed this poster detail of the Patriarch Joseph telling Mrs. Potiphar “Um, maybe some other time…” in a painting by Carlo Cignani from about 1670.

The installation with its shadows and spot lighting and deep-hued walls gave a nice spooky feeling of other times and other places, but the drama could not overcome the repulsion we felt at the sheer ookiness of the Bolognese Baroque style.

A little less than life-size.Fortunately for us, the sculpture garden at the bottom of the Gettyland Tram Ride provided an antidote to Baroque overkill. Above is a nice horse by the British artist, Elisabeth Frink, who made bronze statues between the time she was born (1930) and the time she died (1996). Below is a detail of another Frink called “Running Man.”

He really is running.Would you like to see the Frink Horse and the Frink Man together?

Okay, here you go:

If only they could team up somehow.

We stood around reading the plaques.

You can learn a lot from plaques.On second thought, not that much, really.Then we touched all the sculpture and went home.

We did not really touch the scultpure.


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