Andrea del Sarto at The Frick and The Met

This has been a wonderful year for The Frick Collection in Manhattan. It has one of two prestigious shows on Andrea del Sarto – one of the best artists you may never have heard of. (More on that in a bit.) Director Ian Wardropper, subject of a July 2011 WAG profile http://issuu.com/thewagmag/docs/wag0711/34, has published two Frick books – one on the Collection’s enamels and the other, a director’s choice guide. And the Collection turns 80 on Wednesday with a pay-as-you-wish day of library tours, gallery talks, sketching and music in the Garden Court and a Wardropper book-signing at noon.

Extend your Frick celebration with a visit to “Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action” (through Jan. 10) – featuring sublime drawings and paintings by a man whose craftsmanship, depth of feeling and harmony of color made him the artist’s artist. Then continue your Andrea experience with the “Borgherini Holy Family” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through Jan. 10 as well. This small but intense show contrasts The Met’s “Holy Family With the Young Saint John the Baptist,” which Andrea made for Florentine compatriot Giovanni Borgherini, with the National Gallery of Art’s “Charity,” which was greatly influenced by the other work.

The pairing tells the fascinating story of one artist’s creative process but also his poignant end. “Charity” was made as an appeal to Francis I of France to come to the aid of republican Florence against the dictatorial Medici family and their ally, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Alas, the painting never reached Francis and Andrea died of the plague that Charles’ soldiers ushered in at age 43 in 1530.

For more, visit frick.org and metmuseum.org. And for more on Andrea del Sarto’s moment in New York, read the story http://www.wagmag.com/exceeding-his-grasp-andrea-del-sarto-at-the-frick-and-the-met/ in December WAG’s “Enduring Passion” issue. – Georgette Gouveia

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