Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month, the Frick (the most romantic museum in the world) hosts Sketching in the Galleries. It’s just what it sounds like. Everyone—regardless of talent or ambition—is given drawing equipment, an easel and a chair and is told to go forth and sketch. Cool.
I walked in and immediately passed the rumpled artist test. Quite honestly, I had no idea about Wednesday sketch night. I had gone to the Frick on this particular late Wednesday afternoon, because it was pay as you wish day: every Wednesday between 2 and 6pm. Of course, I needed very little convincing to join the sketchers. I was told to look for the model-esque Rachel who would tell me what to do.
I detoured to see the magnificent special exhibit of Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons. Francisco de Zurbaran is a painter from Spain’s Golden Age, when Spain was literally supported by the gold they were hauling out of the Americas. It didn’t last that long, but the art scene of the time sure did well.
Jacob and his 12 sons (who went on to found the “12 Tribes of Israel”) were not a particularly popular subject matter for artists of the time. (Note to the reader: Jacob’s daughter Dinah did not make the cut.) Certainly, they were not typical subjects for the 13 larger than life, full figure portraits with individual landscapes representing their life stories. (Mona Lisa, eat your heart out.) Clearly, I recommend this exhibit.
Back to Rachel and the surprisingly unruly sketchers, perhaps including me. I was dying to take a picture of her and the sketchers. Even with promises not to include pictures of the art, I was advised that it was simply not possible. As a consolation prize, Rachel let me know that much of the collection is included in a downloadable digital archive. What she didn’t tell me is that it’s all black and white. All the more reason to head to the Frick to see the real stuff for yourself.