The first capture of my heart in museums came when, a child, I began to look at men in frames on walls and enclosed in vitrines.
Mostly men because there were few women in any state of being in museums when I was young. (The Virgin Mary was the most represented figure in ‘Western’ art until modern times).
Mysterious, these images of men hanging there.
A Man with High Colouring, AD 161-180. A Graeco-Roman mummy portrait from Roman Egypt. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
What did they do to deserve this kind of forever immobility? Where were the(their) women?
I would talk to them. I still do, sometimes, in my continuing odyssey through museums: they listen but they don’t speak. All they have to say is there within the frame.
What there is, best of all, is the trust of each artist that their depiction of the spoor and track of our species, image after image, will survive the forgetfulness of centuries.
A good story, even if the story grossly overrepresents – if less so today – rich, powerful, well-connected men: their histories, families, tastes, concerns.
A Good Story, 1900, oil on panel.
George Sloane, 1864-1942, American. Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia
And, of course, before 1900, often the gorgeous textiles and colours. Hats and berets, feathers, garters, waistcoats, cravats, ties, and shoes to die for.
‘Monsieur’, Louis XIV’s bisexual, cross-dressing brother, Philippe I, Duc Duc of Orléans (1640-1701)
Men usually on their best behaviours and usually all spruced up. Men as quiet as quiet.
How could I not love these men in frames and vitrines?
Listening to us from down the walls and the generations while we put ourselves in their frames and snap our selfies as though we were among friends and family.
Finial for a Ceremonial House, Sawos people, Kaimbian village, middle Sepik Region, Papua New Guinea, late 19th or early 20th century. Metropolitan Museum, NY
Views of a fragmentary Colossal Head of a Youth, Greek, Hellenistic period, 2nd century BCE. Discovered at Pergamon in 1879 and loaned in 2016 by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Views of a A tsesah crest: a symbol of the leadership of a fon of the Bamileke of the west and northwest Cameroon. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The museum explains that the fon is a sacred chief of a kingdom who also has civil, military and territorial power. 18th century. Wood with extensive repair made with metal supports.
Amethyst intaglio portrait of a man. Roman, late Republican, c. 50-40 BCE. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Glass cup in the form of an African. Roman, mold-blown, second half of the 1st century ACE. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of a Carthusian, 1446, oil on wood.
Petrus Christus, active by 1444-1475/76, Netherlandish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of a Young Gentleman, 1474, oil on wood panel.
Antonella da Massina, Italian, ?-1479 Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philip the Fair, 1483?, oil on panel.
Attributed to the Master of the Magdalene Legend, active 1480-1520, Netherlandish. Philadelphia Art Museum
Head of a Boy, 1492-93, tempera on panel.
Luca Signorelli, first documented 1470-1523, Italian. Philadelphia Art Museum.
An informal working study hung up with a single cord.
Portrait Head of a Man, c. 1475, terracotta.
Atttributed to Benedetto de Maiano, 1442-1497, Italian active Florence. Philadelphia Art Museum
Portrait of a Man, and detail, oil on canvas.
Titian, 1488-1576, Italian. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of Man said to be Christopher Columbus (c. 1446-1506), oil on canvas (degraded), 1519.
Sebastiano del Piombo, Venetian High Renaissance, 1485/6-1506. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of a Man, and detail, c.1520-25, oil on wood.
Jan Gossart, called Mabuse, 1478-1532, Netherlandish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of a Young Man, 1530’s, oil on wood.
Bronzino, 1503-1572, Italian, Florence. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Detail of a Portrait of a Man (Sir Ralph Sadler), 1535, oil and gold on oak.
Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger, 1497/98-1543, German. I don’t recall where I saw this.
Portrait of a Man, and detail, tempera and oil on wood.
Corneille de Lyon, active by 1531-1575, Dutch working in Lyon, France. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Cosimo I de Medici, Duke of Florence as Orpheus., 1537-39, oil on panel.
Angelo Bronzini, 1503-1572. Oil on panel. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo from the net.
His lyre is in his hands and the dog Cerberus is becalmed.
Views of Hercules, painted terracotta, 1545-60, and detail.
Wilhelm Danielsz van Tetrode, 1525-1580, Netherlandish. On loan by the Quentin Foundation, London to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018
Portrait of a Man, and detail, possibly of an Architect or a Geographer, 1597, oil on copper.
Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640, Dutch. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Self-Portrait, 1546-48, oil on canvas.
Tintoretto, 1519-1594, Italian, Venice. Philadelphia Art Museum
Portrait of a Baby Boy, c. 1547-49, oil on poplar panel.
Angelo Bronzino, active 1503-1572, and workshop. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
Thought to be one of the sons, wrapped in swaddling clothes, of Cosimo I de Medici and Eleonora de Toledo
Self-Portrait, 1573, painted terracotta.
Johan Gregor van der Schardt, c. 1530-1581, Netherlandish. Loaned by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018
Rannucio Farnese, oil on canvas, 1592.
Titian, 1490-1576, Venetian. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Lute Player, c. 1620, oil on canvas.
Theodore Rombouts, Flemish active Antwerp and Italy, ?1597-1637. Philadelphia Art Museum
Lucas van Uffel (died 1637), and detail, c. 1622, oil on canvas.
Anthony van Dyck, 1599-1641, Flemish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Portrait of a Gentleman Seated before A Landscape, 1535-37, oil on canvas.
Jacopino del Conte, 1510-1598, Italian active Florence and Rome. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Self-Portrait, 1620-21, oil on canvas.
Anthony Van Dyck, 1559-1641, Flemish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY from its website
Portrait of a Man, 1632, and detail, oil on wood.
Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669, Dutch. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Bird catcher, pen and brown ink, 1625-32.
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), 1591-1666 , active Bologna and Rome. Morgan Library, NY exhibited in 2019
The Lute Player, 1626, oil on canvas.
Valentin de Boulogne, 1591-1632, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The most skilled of the followers of Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio) 1571-1610. Italian whose immense talent was cut off by death at the age of 36.
Cardinal Camillo Astalli-Pamphili (1616/19-1663), oil on canvas, c. 1650.
Velasquez (Diego de Velazquez, 1599-1660, Spanish). Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY on loan from the Spanish Society of the Americas in 2018
Portrait of a Man, c. 1650, oil on canvas.
Workshop of Velasquez (Diego de Velazquez, 1599-1660, Spanish). Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
An unfinished painting (detail): Portrait of a Man Receiving a Letter from a Boy, 1660, oil on panel.
Attributed to Gonzalez Coques, active 1614/18-1684, Flemish. On loan from the Orsay Collection, London, Paris to the National Gallery of Art in 2017
Titus, the Artist’s Son, 1660, oil on canvas. (He was 19 at this time). Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669. Baltimore Art Museum.
A Soldier Smoking a Pipe, oil on panel, c. 1657-58.
Franz van Mieris, 1635-1681, Dutch. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Portrait of a Man, c. 1700, oil on canvas.
Giovanni Battista Gaulli, called Baciccio, 1639-1709, Italian. Baltimore Museum of Art
Bust of an African Boy, c. 1700, bronze.
Jan Claudius de Cock, 1667-1735, Flemish. Walters Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
A little boy wearing the insignia (livery) of a cardinal
Head of a Bearded Man, 1715, pastel on paper.
Benedetto Luti, 1666-1754, Italian, Florence. Philadelphia Art Museum
Soap Bubbles, oil on canvas, 1733-34, and detail.
Jean-Siméon Chardin, 1699-1779, French. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
The Museum notes that, while in the eighteenth century bubbles were an allusion to the transience of life, the artist, who painted two later versions, may have created this for the pleasure.
Claude Dupouch, c. 1739, pastel on blue paper mounted on canvas.
Maurice Quentin de la Tour, 1704-1788. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Male Nude Leaning on a Pedestal, 1765, black and white chalks on laid paper prepared with blue ground.
Pompeio Giralamo Batoni, 1708-1787, Italian. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Armida Gazes on the Sleeping Rinaldo, c.1785, colored chalks on laid paper.
Guiseppe Cades, 1750-1799, Italian. Philadelphia Art Museum
Self-portrait, oil on canvas, 1814-1816.
Morris Daniel Oppenheim, 1800-1862, German. Jewish Museum, NY
Le Discret, 1791, oil on aluminum panel transferred from canvas.
Joseph Ducreux, 1735-1802. Spencer Museum of Art, the University of Kansas on display in 2017 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Incense Burner in the shape of a Rooster, 18th century, Qing dynasty, cloissone enamel on copper. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Staircase group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale), 1795, oil on canvas; and detail.
Charles Wilson Peale, 1741-1827, American. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Connoisseurs, 1799, hand-coloured etching.
Thomas Rowlandson, 1756-1827, British. Philadelphia Art Museum
Portrait of Yarrow Mamout (Muhammad Yarrow), 1819, oil on canvas.
Charles Willson Peale, 1741-1827, American. A portrait, at about 83 years, of an African American Muslim, c. 1763-1823, who won his freedom.
Views of Auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham, 1832, wax, human bones, hair, wool, cotton, linen, and accessories. Thomas Southwood Smith, 1788-1861, British. The wax head was modelled by Jacques Talrich, 1790-1851.
On loan from UCL Culture, London to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2018.
The Unitarian philosopher’s skeleton, except his head, is encased in this clothing. He sits, glassed off, at an entrance of University College, London.
Raj Kissen Mitter (1811-1872), c. 1840, 2017 for trousers and turban, unfired clay, pigments and cotton over bamboo and straw.
Attributed to Sri Ram Pal mid-19th century. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA on loan to the Metropolitan Museum in 2018. This was a wealthy Bengali merchant based in Calcutta.
He sent this representation of himself to his partners in Boston.
Boy-Chief Ojibewey, oil on canvas, 1843.
George Catlin, 1796-1872, American. Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
Ingres (1780-1867) as a Young Man, c. 1850-60, oil on canvas, and detail.
Thought to have been painted by Madame Gustave Hequet, active c. 1845-65, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The museum notes that this was bought at the estate sale of the possessions of Gustave Hequet.
Maharajah Sardar Singh of Bikaner, opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper.
Painted by Chotu. Rajasthan, Bikaner, India. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Self-Portrait, 1855-56, oil on paper laid down on canvas. Edgar Degas, 1834-1917, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
One of 40 self-portraits the artist painted at the beginning of his career
Self-Portrait, c. 1858, oil on canvas laid down on canvas.
Henri Fantin-Latour, 1836-1904, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Bather and Rocks, 1860-1866, oil on canvas, and detail.
Paul Cezanne, 1839-1906, French. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia on loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2017
Fishermen with a Net, 1868, oil on canvas, and detail.
Frederic Bazille, 1841-1870, French. Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandscheck /Sammlung on loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2017
Paul Alexis Reading to Emile Zola, oil on canvas, 1869-70 (with light interference).
Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906, French.
Museu de Arte de Sao Paolo Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil on loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2018
This painting is unfinished. War broke out between France and Prussia in 1870 and Cezanne fled Paris.
In this painting, a young Paul Alexis is reading his own work to Emile Zola who had encouraged the younger man to come to Paris and take part in the intellectual and aesthetic ferment which Zola supported and which was centered on the work of the group later labelled as Impressionists.
Bashi Bazouk, 1868/69, oil on canvas.
Jean-Léon Gérôme , 1824–1904, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY from its website.
The artist staged this portrait in his studio with fabric and artifacts he brought back from a trip to the Near East. The name of the painting was the name of unpaid irregulars who fought for the Ottoman Turks for plunder. Though not dressed up in this finery.
Study of a Young Male Nude, 1870, and detail; underlying composition 1868, oil on canvas.
Frederic Bazille, 1841-1870, French. Loaned by the Musée Fabre, Montpellier to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2017.
The museum notes that this is two separate compositions: the young man at the top and two ladies sitting at the bottom. The skirt of one of them is still visible at the bottom of the screen. The canvas was left unfinished at the time of the artist’s premature death.
Head of a Moor, 1870, oil on canvas.
Staged and painted in Tunis with the co-operation of a local by by Henri Regnault, 1843-1871, French. The Corcoran Collection of The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 2014
Alemayehu Teodros (1861-1879) in a photo dating to 1868 taken in England by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1815-1879, English. On display at the Metropolitan Museum, NY in 2015.
The subject was the son of the Emperor Teodros (1818-1868) of Ethiopia who took his own life rather than be taken by Robert Napier’s punitive expeditionary force who entered Ethiopia to rescue British hostages.
Alemayehu Teodros was raised in Great Britain, He died young and is buried in a communal grave outside St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.
All appeals that he be returned for reburial in Ethiopia have so far been denied. The latest reason given is that the difficulty of identifying particular bones in a communal grave.
The Slipper Merchant, 1872, oil on canvas.
Jose Villegas Cordero, 1844-1921, Spanish. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. A scene set in Morocco where the artist travelled often.
Jean Monet (1867-1913) on his Hobby Horse, 1872, oil on canvas, and detail.
Claude Monet, 1840-1926, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The museum notes that Claude Monet always kept this painting of a son who predeceased him.
The Pair-Oared Shell, 1872, oil on canvas. Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
The Biglin brothers on the Schuylkill River, one of two rivers on which sits Philadelphia
The Champion Single Sculls (Max Schmitt in a Single Scull), 1871, oil on canvas, and detail.
Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. Photos from the net.
Skiffs, oil on canvas, 1877.
Gustave Caillebotte, 1848-1894, French. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
The Moorish Chief (originally The Guardian of the Seraglio), 1878; oil on panel; believed to have been shown at the Salon in that year.
Eduard Charlemont, 1848-1906; Austrian. Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Cafe Concert, 1879, oil on canvas, and detail.
Edouard Manet, 1832-1883, French. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
The Tulip Folly, oil on canvas, 1882.
Jean-Leon Jerome, 1824-1904, French. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland
Arcadia, c. 1883, oil on canvas, and detail. Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916, American. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Ilya Efimovitch Repin, 1844-1930 painted this portrait of the writer Vsevolod Mihailovitch Garshin (1855-1888) in 1884.
Garshin wrote short stories. He was a progressive and his interest lay with pacificism, beauty and the prevalence and avoidance of evil.
Mental illness ran in the writer’s family. Garshin took his life not long after the suicides of his father and brother.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Gambetta Proclaiming the Republic of France (the 3rd Republic) from ‘The Siege and Commune of Paris’ by E.B. Washburne in Scribner’s Magazine, 1887, oil on canvas board.
Illustration by Howard Pyle, 1853-1911, American. Delaware Art Museum
Figure study: standing male nude from rear, 1880, charcoal on cream laid paper. Susan Macdowell Eakins, 1851-1938, American. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
The work of the wife of the painter Thomas Eakins.
Views of The Thinker, modeled in clay 1880-81, cast in bronze 1924. Auguste Rodin, 1840-1917, French. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Interior of a Tavern, 1886, oil on canvas.
Peter Severn Kroyer, 1851-1908, Danish. Philadelphia Art Musuem
The Zouave, 1888, reed and quill pen and ink over graphite on paper.
Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch. Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY
The Englishman (William Tom Warrener, 1861-1934) at the Moulin Rouge, 1892, oil on cardboard.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864-1901, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Morning, Interior, 1890, oil on canvas.
Maximilian Luce, 1858-1941, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY