Monday, December 08, 2008

Tiziano Vecellio at the Metropolitan

Venus and the Lute Player c. 1565-70
Venus with an Organist and a Little Dog  c. 1550
They're both in the same building, for a little while, but not in the same room. Titian's Lute Player is in the collection and the Organist is on loan from the Prado for Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. I called to see if the curators had thought of putting them together even for a week in public view, knowing that they'd done that for themselves. The last comment drew a laugh and a quick if slightly abashed confirmation of the obvious. I assume a few well-connected scholars and patrons flew into town just for that -it won't happen again in my lifetime- and expressed some gently-worded frustration that the rest of us won't be able to share it. In truth there really is no excuse for not placing the two works together. The show is moving to the Kimball after NY and if there were no thematic relation then given budgetary and time constraints I could see why I'd have no claims beyond simple jealousy of the access of experts. But they're a lovely pair of pairs. And if the Lute Player is all adolescent desire and youthful vanity (his Venus is manipulative and coy) the Organist and his partner are engaged in the erotic and touching conversation of adults.

One could argue that the pairing might have thrown the exhibition off balance, but that could have been resolved by moving them off to the side; they would have been the highlight of the show not its doom.

As it is they're only a two minute walk from one another, until February 16th.

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