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This week: A Renaissance reflection & Morgan’s collection
Fiction: Hot Milk: An Evening with Deborah Levy, at McNally Jackson (July 26): Just about a year ago, I recommended Deborah Levy’s novel Swimming Home as an antidote to the steamy weather (best read by a pool, naturally). Now the infernal weather has returned and so has Levy. She will speak next Tuesday at McNally Jackson on her new novel, Hot Milk, a wide-ranging examination of hypochondria. —BR
Nonfiction: After Caravaggio, by Michael Fried (Yale University Press): At the time Caravaggio received his first major commissions, Rome’s art patrons were searching for a style that could unite realism with the dramatic focus on personality that had always distinguished the art of the Catholic Church. The detailed figures and starkly contrasted lighting in The Calling of St Matthew and Caravaggio’s other early work filled this need so perfectly that, as Michael Fried of Johns Hopkins University points out, a circle of painters in Rome and abroad carried on his techniques for a generation. In After Caravaggio, Fried examines the work of these “Caravaggisti”—Nicolas Tournier, Bartolomeo Manfredi, and other noted descendents of Caravaggio’s style. Fried complements the reproduced artworks with a description of their historical context, reminding readers of an era in which subtle distinctions in the style of art rippled out into waves in the popular culture. —MU
Music: Mostly Mozart Festival preview concert in Damrosch Park (July 22): Those of us who crave musical performance during the summer have been looking forward to the July 22 opening of the Mostly Mozart Festival, New York City’s premier presenter of classical music. Per annual tradition, the Festival begins on Friday with a free “preview” concert in Damrosch Park given by the resident orchestra under its Music Director, Louis Langrée. Though observers often joke that Mozart tends to get short shrift at his namesake festival, the presenters will on this occasion be true to their word, offering two pillars of the master's symphonic output: the iconic “Jupter” Symphony (No. 41) and the G-Major Violin Concerto (No. 3), featuring wunderkind soloist Simone Porter. —ECS
Artifacts: “Treasures from the Vault” at the Morgan Library & Museum (Through November 13): In addition to the artifacts on public display the Morgan Library’s overseers maintain a sealed collection of works on the premises, many of which were of personal significance to their original collector, J. P. Morgan himself. In the latest iteration of their “Treasures from the Vault” series, the library and museum will show off medieval books, manuscripts, and musical scores that have been largely unseen since the collection opened to the public in 1924. And as a bonus, the artworks will be complemented by a selection of historical documents on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute a few minutes uptown. —MU
From the latest issue: “Hemingway & Alfred Fletchtheim,” by Jeffrey Meyers: On the tribulations of a towering art-world figure.
From the archive: “The French non-resistance,” by Dominic Green: On Islamism and the decline of French identity.