The Charterhouse of Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, and Jan Vos

The Frick Collection Exhibition Tour

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Frick’s Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth, and Jan Vos, by Jan van Eyck and workshop, and The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara and Jan Vos, by Petrus Christus, now in the Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin, were commissioned by Jan Vos in the 1440s during his tenure as prior of the Carthusian monastery (or  charterhouse) of Bruges.  This exhibition brings together these two masterpieces of early Netherlandish painting for only the second time in their history.

The two panels are presented with Carthusian objects that place them in their rich monastic context, offering a glimpse into the visual environment of the charterhouse and highlighting the role that images played in shaping devotional life and funerary practices during the late Middle Ages.

The exhibition is curated by Emma Capron, a doctoral candidate at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and 2016-18 Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow at The Frick Collection.  Ms. Capron led the scholarly and engaging tour of the exhibition for Patrons and friends.

Frick Tour IMAGE

Photo Credit:

Jan van Eyck and Workshop

The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth, and Jan Vos, circa 1441-43

Oil on Panel

8.75 in x  24.25 in

The Frick Collection, New York

Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place

Bard Graduate Center Exhibition Tour

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place is the first large-scale exhibition to provide a broad perspective on the practice and history of votive giving.

Linking the human and spiritual realms, the practice of votive giving is common across cultures.  Almost anything can be transformed into a votive once it is charged with sentiment and meaning through a spiritual act such as prayer or meditation.  Through this process, the votive becomes “activated” as the material representative or agent of the individual’s most private wish or vow.  A rich mix of human dreams and hopes as well as fears and anxieties find tangible form in the votive object.

While some votive objects may be “found objects” having some significant form for the giver, others are made of various modest materials such as clay, wood, metal, and wax either by an individual for personal use or produced for the mass market, and still others can take the form of finely crafted works of art made of precious metals and gems.

This exhibition contains more than 250 objects dating from circa 1,500 BC to the 21st Century.  The objects represent many different traditions and are drawn from museums and private collections from around the world.  This broad selection presents the opportunity to consider the commonalities among votive objects from different societies and time periods.

Dr. Ittai Weinryb, associate professor at The Bard Graduate Center is the show’s chief curator and led the thoroughly engaging tour of the exhibition for Patrons and friends.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 4.57.40 PM

Photo Credit:

Wounded Arm and Leg Votive

Wood, carved and polychromed

Italy, 1850-1950

Rudolf Kriss collection, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich

Photo: Walter Haberland

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition Tour

Monday, 18 June 2018

Throughout the history of humankind, religions have been influenced by the cultures within which they take root and cultures have been influenced by the religions that flower within them.  Certainly painting, sculpture, and music, in all their distinctive beauty and balance as well as their dissonance and disorder, have been appreciated as art forms contributing to the dynamic dialogue between sacred and secular realms.  Heavenly Bodies  explores the place of  fashion in that dialogue, specifically the longstanding tradition of Catholicism influencing haute couture  and vice-versa.

Having been conceived by Costume Institute curator, Andrew Bolton, and taken shape in close consultation with Vatican officials over an 8-year period, the exhibition includes more than 40 ecclesiastical vestments and ritual objects from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have not been seen outside the Vatican.  These precious objects of ritual devotion are displayed along with examples of haute couture throughout The Metropolitan Museum’s main Fifth Avenue building and the Cloisters in upper Manhattan.  The opportunity to view these objects in this thought-provoking presentation is an enriching experience for believer and non-believer alike.

The after-hours tour of the exhibition was led by a curator from the Costume Institute on Monday, 18 June 2018.

The Holy Name. Art of the Gesu: Bernini and His Age

Fairfield University Museum of Art Exhibition Tour

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Church of the Gesu in Rome is the mother church of The Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola and given approbation by Pope Paul III in 1540.  The architectural design and adornment of this church is significant in the history of both the Church and Western Art for its embodiment of the spirit of the early Counter-Reformation and the artistic sensibilities informing the dawn of the Baroque era.  This splendid church is nothing less than a crucible of the art, ideas, spirituality, and faith of that dynamic and tumultuous period.

The exhibition, though modest in size, is magisterial in scope and breath taking in quality, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, vestments, and liturgical objects from the church.  Among all the objects on display, perhaps the most significant is the marble portrait bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the greatest sculptors of all time.  Never before having left its lofty niche in the sanctuary of The Gesu,  this luminous sculpture will be able to be seen and examined up close so that its artistic alchemy of power and delicacy may be fully appreciated — surely reason enough to visit this singular exhibition.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Ph.D., the Frank and Clara Meditz Director and Chief Curator of The Fairfield University Museum of Art, is the curator of the exhibition.  She lead the tour of the exhibition on Sunday, 15 April 2018 for The Patrons.

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 4.36.30 PM

Photo Credit:

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian, 1598-1680)

Bust of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, 1623-24


30.75 in. x 27.5 in. x 19.75 in.

The Church of The Gesu, Rome

Photo: Zeno Colantoni


The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View

Invitation to "The Life of a Swiss Guard" Exhibit

The New York Chapter of the

Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums

cordially invites you to the Photographic Exhibition

The Life of a Swiss Guard, A Private View

Exhibition Dates October 5th – 20th

 Dr. Romina Cometti

Curator of the exhibit & Restoration Projects Manager of the Vatican Museums


For more information, E-mail to:   or  Tel: +1.929.290.0030

The Sheen Center

18 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012


Swiss Guard Oct 5 2017 group photo.JPG


An Evening With Raphael

Faith, Reason, and the Politics of Beauty in The Stanza della Segnatura

A Lecture by Professor Elizabeth Lev, Dott. Ric.

The Unseen Raphael

A Lecture by Professor Eric Hansen, Ph.D.

The United Nations Grand Conference Hall

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – 1520), known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance.  He was a giant in a time of artistic giants; together with Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) and Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), he forms the “Trinity of Great Masters” of that period.

Giorgio Vasari, the great biographer, describes Raphael’s life as falling into three phases and three styles: his formative years in Umbria tutored by Perugino; four years (1504-1508) in Florence where he was deeply influenced by Leonardo who lived in that great city from 1500 to 1506; his last twelve years spent in Rome where he achieved his lauded artistic maturity.   Raphael’s mature style depicts the human figure in an idealized state of Neo-platonic grandeur and equanimity within the context of compositional clarity and formal grace, elements that give the overall work its much-admired serene and harmonious character.

It was while in Rome and working for two popes (Julius II and Leo X) that Raphael, and workshop, executed in fresco the largest and central works of his career in the Vatican Palace’s “Raphael Rooms,” including The School of Athens, The Parnasus, and The Disputa in the Stanza della Segnatura, The Mass at Bolsena and Deliverance of St. Peter in the Stanza de Eliodoro, and the three defining episodes in the life of the Emperor Constantine in The Constantine Room.

Professor Elizabeth Lev’s lecture will focus on the complex context of theological doctrines, papal politics, scientific ideas, and artistic sensibilities informing the commission, designs, and execution of the paintings in the Stanza della Segnatura.

Professor Lev is a highly regarded art historian who has authored scholarly articles, books, and scripts for documentaries about The Vatican Museums.  Her forthcoming book, How Catholic Art Saved the Faith, is eagerly awaited.

Professor Eric Hansen’s lecture will focus on another room in the Vatican Palace designed and painted by Raphael.  The Loggie is a long, thin gallery that was once open to a courtyard on one side and decorated with Roman-style grotesques.  Though less well known than the “Stanze,” Professor Hansen argues for the importance of place of the Loggie in the Vatican Palace and its significance in the oeuvre of Raphael.

In addition to lecturing at various Catholic educational institutions, Professor Hansen has authored seven books on religious and cultural history; his forthcoming volume will detail the history and design of Catholic cathedrals in the United States.

Photo Credit

Raphael (1483-1520)

Stanza della Segnatura

The Vatican Palace

Photo:  The Vatican Museums