This week: On the Louvre, Church & Rothko, Renaissance music at Wigmore Hall, Myron Magnet & more.
The Louvre: The History, The Collections, The Architecture, by Genevieve Bresc-Bautier, with photographs by Gérard Rondeau (Rizzoli Electa): With trips to Paris on the shelf indefinitely, the next best thing might just be Rizzoli’s new doorstop The Louvre, a history of and illustrated guide to the museum’s collections. Through hundreds of high-quality photographs, the book tells the story of the building and its holdings, all wrapped in an attractive hardback package, with a delightful bound ribbon bookmark. —BR
“Church & Rothko: Sublime,” at the Mnuchin Gallery (through December 12): In last week’s notebook I prefaced my review of a new monograph on the contemporary painter Stanley Whitney with a brief discussion of Mark Rothko, an obvious influence on Whitney’s color-filled abstractions. By sheer coincidence, the next day, as I was walking to the Metropolitan Museum, I happened upon the Mnuchin Gallery on East Seventy-eighth Street, outside of which was a banner advertising its current exhibition, “Church & Rothko: Sublime.” Putting the Ab-Ex Rothko into conversation with the nineteenth-century American landscapist Frederic Edwin Church, a leading member of the Hudson River School, the exhibition makes an altogether more provocative aesthetic comparison. But a step into the Mnuchin galleries and a look at the juxtaposition of Rothko’s powerful Browns and Blacks and Reds (1957) and Church’s Marine Sunset (The Black Sea) (1881–82), a dramatic picture whose seemingly impossible reds and blacks shock the retina, will convince any visitor that there’s something there. To be sure, these are very different pictures, and very different artists, but having a chance to see and compare how both grasp in their own way towards some semblance of “the sublime” through the medium of paint is an instructive experience. An informative catalogue essay by John Wilmerding supplements this museum-quality presentation. —AS
Fretwork live at Wigmore Hall (October 14): Wigmore Hall, located a short jaunt south from Regent’s Park in Marylebone, London, is one of England’s most respected classical music venues. Its value lies in its championing of chamber and early music, which are styles particularly suited to Wigmore Hall’s intimate, 545-seat concert space. Luckily, Wigmore Hall has been staying the course through these dire straits, offering a daily selection of free streaming concerts right from the stage as part of its Autumn 2020 series. This week’s stellar lineup includes the accomplished viol consort Fretwork, who are set to present a concert of music from John Dowland and Adrian Williams. Register for a free account on Wigmore Hall’s website to watch the high-definition streams live, or catch the concerts on YouTube after they premiere. —IS
“The Founders’ priceless legacy,” by Myron Magnet: Did you miss our second annual Circle Lecture? Next Monday, October 19, at 6 p.m. Eastern, there will be another chance to catch Myron Magnet speaking on “The Founders’ priceless legacy.” The broadcast includes an introduction by Roger Kimball and my post-lecture interview with Myron. Thanks to the support of our donors, we are pleased to make this limited re-release available to all of our readers. Simply confirm your attendance for this online broadcast by clicking here—and do spread the word. —JP
From the archive:
“The bright ghosts of antiquity,” by John Talbot (September 2011). On the enduring legacy of the Loeb Library.
“Music for a While #35: Greatness, consolation, transcendence.”
Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
“Before the flood,” by Carolyn Stewart. On “Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.