20 October 2023

Catching up with old girlfriends

Catching up with old girlfriends: it's what I told my wife, too, with no repercussions. This girlfriend is a fave Botticelli in Frankfurt. Why a fave? Not sure, really. I have seen better, but this one just fell on me when I entered a room one day and ever since she's been a fave. Botticelli, of course, was a lively character as is trivially obvious in his painting. Pretty men and women with glowing skin and glorious clothing in sensuous poses. What's not to like? This is not the biggest and best past masters gallery, but it's got a nice collection and I get to visit it so it's a personal favourite. And today I noticed myself making connections. There's a Raphael here of Pope Julius 2. I thought I knew it from Rome, and sure enough that's also Raphael with the pope in the same pose. It happened with a Tiepolo, too, where the woman in the transaction if also Cleopatra in Melbourne's major Tiepolo. I suppose they are the same model. And I got bowled over again by the details in Canaletto.  And I love Perugino for having lived in Perugia for a time (and he was Raphael's teacher). But I like earlier periods, too, and more. A multi-part painting of deaths of the apostles was so gruesome as to draw a chuckle. A series of husband/wife portrait pairs had me seeing especially the women as feasible close relatives. And the ordinary life stories with exquisite detail of the Dutch school made me gasp for the beauty of a tiny group in a small painting. I took a break after the old masters and returned for the modern era. That was lucky. Nothing too much there of such beauty and interest so I could get through it pretty quickly. Not that nothing was interesting, but quite a bit wasn't. As a bassist, I feigned objection to a real double bass smashed then memorialised in resin. The artist had done it with 20-or-so bows, too, but they were just for violins. And a modern discovery was Max Beckman who did the most revealing modern portraits of people pairs last century.

And one little musical outing the day of arrival, suffering jet lag. I walked through the very touristy centre of town and heard strains of something I'd played a few years back. Not the original Four seasons, but the Max Richter take. Attractive and interesting. Then I saw the accordionist on button accordion. I didn't listen for so long, but I did catch Libertango and some Bach. Sergei Sadovoy is with an acquaintance who remembered him as an accompanist for a local professional dance group.

The Städler Gallery is the main art gallery in Frankfurt. Sergei Sadovoy (button accordion) played in Markt Lane, behind Römerberg, Frankfurt.

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