Frick Collection Exhibits Portrait Metals

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by Miriam Silverberg

This summer the Frick Collection at 70th and Fifth Avenue celebrates the largest acquisition in its history.  It’s called The Pursuit of Immortality:  Masterpieces from the Scher Collection of Portrait Medals.  The exhibition showcases superlative examples of medals from Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, England and other regions together with related sculptures and works on paper from the Frick’s permanent collection, helping to illuminate the place of medals in a larger history of art and their centrality in the history of portraiture in Western art.  A short film will demonstrate one method by which medals were made, and visitors will have the opportunity to handle a reproduction of one of the most famous medals of the Renaissance.

Portrait medals are one of the most important artistic inventions of the Italian Renaissance and flourished as an art form across Europe for four centuries.  Created to be exchanged and distributed as tokens of identity—sometimes among intimate circles of friends, sometimes from powerful rulers to their subjects—they make the absent present, evoking the fullness of the individuals they commemorate through the likeness, imagery and text they carry.

But don’t just take my word for it—see it for yourself.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan. She May be reached at




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