Experience the breadth of the Frick Pittsburgh collection through eleven artworks with origins and influences that span the globe.
This elegantly enameled glass lamp was likely made in Syria by Persian artists and then moved to Egypt, where it was installed in a Cairo mosque. Such lamps were commissioned by sultans and members of the court for use in mosques, schools, and other public places, where their illumination symbolized divine light and the presence of God.
A flood of Japanese objects began to arrive in America and Europe in the 1860s and 1870s, following the forcible opening of trade with the formerly isolationist country in 1854.
Objects like these cast bronze vases, embellished with asymmetrical sparrows, maple leaves, and spider webs, had a profound influence on western design.
Just as people in the late 19th century were interested in buying Asian-influenced furnishings for their homes, they were also purchasing Asian-inspired clothing like this. Kimonos were popular with Victorian women who were normally laced tightly into restrictive clothing.
Both of these exquisite vases reflect traditional Chinese imagery, but the peaches are particularly significant. The peach is a symbol of both longevity and good fortune in China. The fact that there are nine is also notable; the Chinese character for nine has the same pronunciation as the word for “long-lasting.”
This superb vase represents the high quality of decoration achieved by Chinese porcelain artists working during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. Sixteen enameled dragons soar amidst flowers of the four seasons.
The four-clawed dragons signify that it was made for a member of the royal family or a high-ranking official; dragons with five claws were reserved for the emperor himself.
Minton & Company was one of the most innovative ceramics manufacturers working in England during the late nineteenth century.
The decorative motifs reflect the profound influence of Asian design on western decorative arts at the time. The brilliant turquoise glaze and the fretwork border outlined in gold imitate Chinese cloisonné. The central scene illustrates a crane flying against a backdrop of cherry blossoms above a blue and white vase—symbols appropriated from popular Japanese print sources of the time.
Interest in the ancient art of cameo glass was revived in the eighteenth century and reached new heights in England and France during the second half of the nineteenth century. The discovery of the Portland Vase, the most famous Roman cameo glass created between 1-25 AD, and its subsequent exhibition in England, led many artists in the attempt to recreate the exquisite technique.
Thomas Webb & Sons of Stourbridge, England was one of the most prolific manufacturers, with a wide variety of styles suited to the eclectic tastes of the Aesthetic Movement.
The elegant form of this vase, by the English firm Royal Worcester Porcelain Company borrows from Greek and Roman urns while the fluted neck, lion mask handles, and festoons draw on an extensive vocabulary of Renaissance revival ornament.
This dazzling tea set from Tiffany & Co. was part of a new line of silver enamelware introduced in 1893 that capitalized on the rising popularity of the Russian Revival style. Designed by Moscow artist Antip Ivanovich Kuzmichev, the repetitive floral motif is rooted in Russia’s Byzantine heritage.
Each object is monogrammed “AHCF,” Adelaide Frick’s initials, in a stylized font meant to resemble Cyrillic.
Francesco Guardi is one of the two best known artists of Venetian “vedute” (city views) the other being his older colleague and perhaps teacher, Canaletto.
A century earlier than the Impressionists, Guardi was known for his sparkling, light-filled compositions that beautifully captured the Venetian atmosphere. In the days before cameras, vedute allowed tourists to take home a memento of Venice’s romantic charm.
Highly regarded in his lifetime, Severo Calzetta was the son of a sculptor. Born in Ravenna, Italy, he spent the years 1500–1509 in Padua. When he returned to Ravenna he established a large, successful workshop.
This elegant "Venus with Apple" is notable for its delicate, almond-shaped eyes; carefully modeled, incised hands and realistically depicted drapery.