Beauty & Art

Compare and contrast history’s most exquisite paintings.

NYC’s top museums have a lot to offer in October, ranging from small exhibitions of poignant artwork to larger collections consisting of work from the art world’s most influential contributors.

At the Frick Collection, this month is your last chance to catch Men in Armor, widely considered one of the year’s best exhibits. The exhibit brings two stunning portraits face-to-face, one by at-the-time aspiring painter El Greco and the other by his well-known Roman contemporary, Scipione Pulzone. The portraits both feature bearded Italian men wearing armor and are paired together to mark the 400th anniversary of El Greco’s death. While El Greco’s full-length standing portrait of Vincenzo Anastagi (an Italian Knight of Rhodes) permanently resides at the Frick Collection and can usually be seen any time, it shines anew when situated next to Pulzone’s three-quarter-length portrait of Jacopo Boncompagni (an Italian feudal lord). After all, El Greco was most likely familiar with Pulzone’s recently completed painting, along with other military portraits, before completing his own masterpiece. One thing is for sure: noticing the similarities and differences of these portraits will make you feel like an art critic. (Through 10/26, 70th St. at Fifth Ave.)

The Whitney Museum of American Art has received a lot of attention lately for its hip Jeff Koons exhibit on display through October 19th, the famed artist’s first major museum presentation in New York. However, October also sees the conclusion of the exhibit Edward Hopper and Photography, located on the fifth-floor mezzanine of the museum.  Edward Hopper was a native New Yorker and is considered to be the best-known American realist of the inter-war period, having creating many unforgettable images depicting everyday life. The exhibit pairs Hopper paintings from the Whitney’s permanent collection with the work of contemporary photographers who all elevate everyday life through the manipulation of light. Like Men of Armor, it is also an exhibit that is brought to life through the comparison of similar, yet different works. (Through 10/19, Madison Ave. at 75th St.)

For a larger exhibit showcasing many Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and modern French masterpieces, the Thannhauser Collection at the Guggenheim is an ongoing exhibit featuring iconic works by art’s biggest and most familiar names, including Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and nearly 30 works by Pablo Picasso. The exhibit tells the story of modern art from its nineteenth-century roots. Upon his death in 1976, renowned art dealer and collector Justin K. Thannhauser donated some sixty works from his collection, which were augmented by gifts from his widow in the years that followed. It was a major acquisition by the Guggenheim Museum, highlights of which include Camille Pissarro’s The Hermitage at Pontoise, ca. 1867, Vincent van Gogh’s Mountains at Saint-Rémy, July 1889 and Pablo Picasso’s Woman with Yellow Hair (Femme aux cheveux jaunes), December 1931. (ongoing, Fifth Avenue nr. 89th St.)

(Photo Credit: Guggenheim Museum)