Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In NYC today, ‘Jacob and His Twelve Sons’: Zurbarán’s Biblical all-stars

By Jason Farago
Some of the life-size paintings in “Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings From Auckland Castle,” at the Frick Collection. Credit Michael Bodycomb
NEW YORK---About 10 years ago, the English church tried to sell off a dozen paintings in Auckland Castle, the former home of the bishops of Durham: full-length portraits of the biblical Jacob and 11 of his 12 sons, painted in the 1640s by the earthy Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán. (A 13th painting, of Jacob’s youngest son, Benjamin, belongs to an aristocratic collection.) An appeal went out, a pious financier stepped up, and, holy of holies, both the Zurbaráns and the castle are now owned by a charitable trust. Auckland Castle is currently closed for restoration, with a view to exhibiting religious art of the past and present, and its 12 Zurbaráns — united with the 13th, happily — are on an American holiday. After an initial outing at the Meadows Museum in Dallas, they’ve arrived at the Frick Collection, where they ring a single gallery like benevolent watchmen. [More]