New volume in the Frick Diptych series focuses on a stunning 14th-century painting, pairing an essay by Frick deputy director Xavier F. Salomon with a fascinating contribution from contemporary composer Nico Muhly.
According to Muhly, The Coronation of the Virgin is “a panel of pure theater and music”. Painted in 1358 by the Venetian artist Paolo Veneziano (ca. 1295–1362), the apocryphal story of the moment when the Virgin is crowned Queen of Heaven is depicted here in one of the artist’s most thrilling and important works. Paolo presents the Virgin and Christ in sumptuous garments and surrounded by a choir of angels playing portable organs, lutes, trumpets, tambourines and other instruments. The angels symbolize the harmony of the universe; their instruments are the authentic components of a medieval orchestra, accurately depicted and correctly held and played. The decorative sparkle of the surface—with its brilliant, expensive colours, patterned textiles and lavish gold leaf—reflects the Venetians’ love of luxury, a taste that enriches much of 14th- and 15th-century art in Venice.
Nico Muhly (b. 1981) is an American composer whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition
Xavier F. Salomon is the deputy director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, The Frick Collection, New York
Table of Contents
- Director’s Foreword
- a multitude of the heavenly host by Nico Muhly
- Paolo Venziano’s Coronation of the Virgin by Xavier F. Salomon
- Image Credits