An Exhibition

Above: the cover page to the exhibition brochure. I guess that they do this exhibition annually, because although the brochure reads “2023” it seemed to work with no problems for this exhibition taking place in “2024”. In any case the brochure provides very little text, and only five examples of the over 60 exhibited works. Or possibly I picked up the wrong brochure?

I’ve been to the Newington-Cropsey Foundation a couple of times before. The first time (See: Newington Cropsey Foundation, Hastings on Hudson) I got as far as the garden, but the house was not open for visitors. This post also contains basic information on the Foundation, which is just as well because as of today (6/1/2024) their website merely provides a splash screen informing you that a new website is coming soon and providing some basic contact information. The second time I didn’t even get as far as the garden, and merely took a few pictures through the fence.

Still, I was determined to come back and see the interior of the house. So, when I saw that this exhibition was taking place I decided to go again.

First stop was the gardens again – with a few shots of the exterior of the house.

Above: Saint Michael the Dragonslayer. An inscription on the base reads: “A victorious St. Michael lays down his sword having won the final battle for our God”.

In spring, 2000, on the Newington-Cropsey Foundation property in Hastings-on-Hudson, a bronzed statue of St. Michael was installed. Saint Michael is watching over the Gallery of Art Building with a pensive countenance. He’s kneeling, resting on his sword having just expelled the Dragon from Heaven. The statue is very significant to the Foundation, particularly as we entered the new millennium in a dark period in American art and culture. One of the goals of the Foundation is to bring to light the virtues of classic art training and strong cultural values. The recently discovered Dead Sea Scroll, War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, calls St. Michael the Prince of Light. Traditionally, chapels, (Michael’s Mounts) and statues devoted to Michael are erected in trying times when the Earth Dragon is thought to be strong.

The Foundation seeks to shed light on present times and reveal the goodness that exists in our world be sharing our permanent collection, programs, and events with the public.

The artist that created Saint Michael is Barbara Newington, founder of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation. Mrs. Newington is a great-granddaughter of Jasper F. Cropsey, Hudson River School artist. The Foundation was originally conceived as a venue to display and preserve the works of Cropsey and his home Ever Rest, a National Register Historic Site. (Text from an attractive brochure available in the lobby of the house).

Above a view through the gate to the Foundation towards the Hudson River. In the background you can see the iconic Irvington Water Tower. (See: A Walk Around Hastings-on-Hudson. The Iconic Water Tower).

Then finally on to the house. I’d already passed a security guard on entering the property. When I got to the lobby, I encountered two more who directed me to the elevator to the second floor where the exhibition was. When the elevator doors opened, I was greeted by two more people. This time they seemed to be docents rather than security. They gave me the above brochure and I walked around by myself looking at the paintings. Everyone (guards, docents) was very friendly. The docents didn’t offer to answer questions, but I’m sure that if I’d asked one (which I didn’t) they would have.

I wasn’t allowed to photograph, so to give a feel for the exhibit, I’ve provided a couple of links of two of the pieces on display

Harro Maas. Freedom is Calling, 2023. Mallard. Acrylic on hardboard.

Rick Pas, United States. The Comic Wood Duck, 2022. Acrylic on PVC panel.

How did I feel about the exhibit. To be honest it didn’t really do much for me. Just not to my taste I suppose.

Now Cropsey‘s works are another matter. I’m very fond of the Hudson River School artists, and from the brochures and what little I saw of the house there seems to be a good selection of Cropsey’s work there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to see the rest of the house – just the room where the exhibition was taking place.

I asked the docents what I needed to do to see the rest of the collection. They informed me that I have to make a reservation for a tour and told me how to do that. So, it looks like I’ll be going back to the Newington Cropsey Foundation. It’s a really pleasant spot right next to the Hudson River and the Hastings-on-Hudson train station. The garden is small, but very attractive. A tranquil spot, it’s perfect for just sitting, reading, and reflecting. The house exterior is beautiful and from what I saw of it the interior seemed spectacular. If I lived in Hastings-on-Hudson I’d probably be there all the time – at least in the garden.

Taken with a Panasonic Lumix GX85 and Lumix G Vario 14-140 f3.5-5.6

An Oldie – Giambologna’s equestrian statue of Ferdinando I de’ Medici

According to Walks in Rome (strangely because the statue isn’t in Rome. It’s in Florence):

The bronze equestrian statue (1602-07) of Ferdinando I de’ Medici (r. 1587-1609), which stands in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, was created by the Flemish sculptor Jean de Boulogne (1529-1608), better known as Giambologna, and his star pupil Pietro Tacca (1577-1640).

The statue was cast by recycling the cannons from an Ottoman galley, which had been captured by the Cavalieri di Santo Stefano (Knights of Saint Stephen), a holy/military order set up by Cosimo I de’ Medici (r. 1537-74), Ferdinando’s father. The capture and reuse of the Turkish cannons is proudly recorded by the inscription on the strap under the horse’s belly: DEI METALLI RAPITI AL FERO TRACE (Of metal captured from the ferocious Turk).

Ferdinando, who was the third grand duke of Tuscany, wears armour emblazoned on the chest with the cross of the Cavalieri di Santo Stefano.

The marble pedestal is decorated with two bronze panels, one of which depicts concentric circles of bees, all facing the queen bee, which sits in the centre. At the top of the plaque are the words MAIESTATE TANTUM (Great Majesty). The political message, I think, is quite clear.

Wikipedia states:

The Equestrian Monument of Ferdinando I is a bronze equestrian statue by Giambologna, executed in 1602–1607, and erected in 1608 in the Piazza of the Annunziata in Florence, region of Tuscany, Italy. The monument was commissioned by Cosimo II, son of Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, from an elder Giambologna, and was meant to be modeled on the similar Equestrian statue of Cosimo I that stands in the Piazza della Signoria. This project was mainly completed by his pupil Pietro Tacca, and the statue was cast in 1602 and inaugurated at the site in 1608 during the festivities celebrating the marriage of Prince Cosimo II with Maria Maddalena d’Austria. Grandduke Ferdinand wears armour emblazoned on the chest with the Cross of Santo Stefano, an equestrian Order established by Cosimo the elder. It is said the statue was cast with cannons taken from the Turks by the Knights of Santo Stefano.

Flanking the statue some yards to the rear of the horse are two mannerist fountains with marine gargoyles, the Fontana dei mostri marini, also created by Tacca though initially intended to be placed at the statue of Ferdinand in Livorno.

There was a time when I was working in Geneva, Switzerland that I used to go down to Florence often on business. This picture was taken in 2011, after I had left Geneva and returned to New York. It was shortly before my retirement in April 2012 and was the last time that I visited Florence (doesn’t mean I won’t go again though).

Taken with a Panasonic Lumix ZS-3