The nose knows

The spirit of JP Morgan lives on. And not just in the ways you would expect. Even robber barons had problems, and in JP’s case it was a chronic case of rosacea, where all the money in the world couldn’t stop his big purple nose from growing larger and more colorful. Perhaps that’s why he immersed himself in books, and thanks to Bella da Costa Greene, his female ( and closet African American ) librarian, he created a treasure house of first editions and literary works. The library is magnificent, but now there is a reason to visit The Morgan Library other than to see the library alone – Rembrandt’s first masterpiece!  The painting, Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver, along with the supporting drawings and etchings, shows not just that Rembrandt is one of the greatest artists in the world, but that he had a special gift for noses…

Rembrandt was only 23 when he painted this masterpiece, that’s nearly 400 years ago, and 2016 is the first time since then that the pieces of the puzzle that he built on to create the painting – the drawings, the etchings – have all been brought together.  Every face he drew tells a story, every nose is rich and generous, from his postage stamp sized self portrait to the crowds milling around while Christ spoke. There is emotion in every line, light and darkness created by needles spinning though wax, etching their way to eternity.

This is the first time Rembrandt’s masterpiece has been in the United States. Usually it resides in private hands in the UK. So when Leonardo DiCaprio called into the House of Morgan for a private tour last week, it was not known if he was looking to make a purchase or to research a new protuberance. Who knows what role follows next? Either way, he would be in the right hands…

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2 Responses to The nose knows

  1. Pat Grumont says:

    It was lovely to by chance meet you in the Mogan Library yesterday Gabrielle after viewing the Rembrandt exhibition which we agree was a wonderful experience to see the way that the works all come together to make the whole. I particularly liked the way we saw the two works side by side of ‘Christ Presented to the People’ An exhibition not to miss as you say.
    Thanks for helping us to enjoy New York all that little bit more than we might have. We found the ‘tunnel’ to Brookfield which finished up another well filled day here in Manhattan!

    • Great to hear Pat, and how delightful to meet you both. Thank you for the conversation – it must be especially interesting for you to rediscover NYC after knowing it so well from living here. I forgot to mention the Block BBQ party in Madison Square Park this weekend – the smell of the fires on my way home last night was fabulous. Safe trip home!

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