Friday, May 6, 2011

The gulbenkian collection

In Lisbon, there is a wonderful art museum founded by oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, who if I remember right, opened up the Baku oil fields and then moved to Paris and started to collect art, seriously.

Since Lisbon welcomed him during the war, and London saw him as a suspicious character, the National Gallery lost out. portugal's gain, for sure.

The museum is beautiful, but the collection is even better. (except perhaps that he went overboard on 18th century French furniture and Corots)

What I especially liked about the collection was how it gave a sense of the man who bought all this art. Judging from the art he was a man who loved beautiful, vital, character-filled people and who bought art that had those kinds of qualities.

How wonderful is this Ghirlandaio portrait?

Or this St. Catherine and St. Joseph? Thoughtful, human...

And this? What faces, expressions!