"When you see her, say a prayer and kiss your heart goodbye, she's trouble, in a word get closer to the fire." -- Madonna, 'Who's That Girl?'

Art Some of the best exhibitions I've visited have featured but one painting. Manchester Art Gallery once displayed David Hockney's Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy and Leeds Art Gallery offered the chance to see Henri Rousseau's famous Tiger in a Tropical Storm. Both appeared in their own sections or rooms and it is a completely different way of spending time with a masterpiece than in a large room filled with distractions such as other visitors.

The rather wonderful looking Frick Collection in New York are currently displaying Francesco Mazzola Parmigianino's Antea in similar circumstances and it's gorgeous. The Economist has a review and they're awed by it:
"Hanging on a temporary, free-standing wall in the middle of the Frick's Oval Room, a glowing “Antea” beckons to visitors from across the museum's sepulchral Garden Court. Quite who the sitter was remains a mystery. The catalogue, by Christina Neilson, a Renaissance specialist and Frick fellow, reads like a detective story; though not so much a “whodunit” as a “who is it”."
It is a pretty extraordinary work (here's a rather crusty image). At both of the above linked articles there's much about the speculation about the sitter's identity and while that might be of interest to Parmigianino's biographers, some paintings undoubtedly gain from the viewer now knowing its history and intent; thriving on the mystery. Like an unrequited one sided love affair the reality can't possibly live up to our imagination.

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