Friday, January 14, 2011

Keeping Up

Ok, so it's only the second week or so of January, but this past fortnight has gone so well resolution-wise that I thought I had to show/share the results.

Saturday 8th we went to the Frick museum. Apparently I've never mentioned the Frick before, which is a bit of an oversight, as it's my favourite museum in New York. I have also been shocked to find out that a couple of my friends here haven't even heard of it, let alone visited. Mr. Frick was a coal baron who made a ridiculous amount of money and spent a ton of it on a gorgeous townhouse on the park and 70th st, and then filled it with unbelievably wonderful paintings. The first time I went simply staggered me - one walks into a room and there above a mantel is a glorious El Greco of St. Jerome, but one's eyes are not drawn there, but to the Holbein to the left of it, where Sir Thomas More sits. It's the one you see in textbooks, the first image on google images, that sort of thing.

It's phenomenal. It is hard to describe how perfect it is without seeing it in person; as illuminating and revealing and detailed as a portrait could be, whatever medium. He is firm and set of jaw; there are clear signs of strain, gritted teeth in the clenched muscles at his temple, with a slight wrinkle in the nose, too. And the velvet on his sleeves is one of the most accomplished things in a painting ever - you just want to touch its gleaming surface. The portrait to the right of Thomas Cromwell is less appealing to look at - it's more cartoonish, less realistic. But reading Wolf Hall as I am, it is rather frivolously amusing to have these two mortal - literally - enemies facing each other, even if Saint Jerome is in the middle to try to calm them down.

We've also made a chicken and olive thing for the slow cooker, Mark made an ethiopian chicken soup (doro wat) that was ace, and I've attempted several crosswords, although I think I need to make more of an effort to actually finish them. Some photos of the chicken & olive cooker to follow...

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