The Indiscreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
A mysterious Italian woman, perhaps a lover, reveals a robber baron’s not-so-hidden ghosts.
This past week I made my way to the Frick Collection, a private museum located at Fifth Avenue and East 70th Street in Manhattan, to see the one painting exhibition of Parmigianino’s Antea (c. 1531–34), on loan from the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples. At the end of a long inner courtyard, hung the single canvas naturally lit by the skylight in the parquet-floored “Oval Room.” The near full-length portrait is of a sumptuously dressed woman who audaciously confronts each gawking visitor with her arresting gaze. Like her better-known counterpart hanging in Paris at the Lourve, Antea’s trace of a smile adds to her lasting allure.