I’m happy ensconced in New York City for a few days. First on the list of things to do: go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I was heading toward the small Van Gogh exhibit of Irises and Roses and stopped for a moment to admire some lovely Marian images.
First, all members of the Church Militant will enjoy this one.
This is an ivory plaque, one of the only of its kind to survive from the Caroligian period, 800-825.
This is the Virgin Mary, dressed in military garb, as personification of the Church. She is seated on her curule chair, holding a scepter and two spindles, which refer to the Annunciation and Incarnation of the Lord. Mary is often depicted as spinning or with a wheel in the background as the angel of the Annunciation comes to her.
Next, because there is a transcendent quality to it, this plaque, cloisonné, from S. France, 1050-1100. You see the A and ? (which resembles a curvy W).
Christ in Majesty.
I think I have posted on this before. Mary is seated with Child, in limestone, polychrome and gilding, c. 1415-17, Poligny, Burgundy.
The inscription is from Ecclesiastes 24: Ab initio et ante saecula creata sum, et usque ad futurum saeculum non desinam: et in habitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi….From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him.
Mary is associated with Wisdom. She is Wisdom’s vessel and throne.
Christ, divine Wisdom itself, is seated upon Mary, holding a book (an indication of “wisdom”), thus, Mary is Sedes Sapientiae, Seat of Wisdom.
There is a beautiful, tender exchange here between Mary and Christ.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, Seat of Wisdom was a common theme. Nearby we find this one, which is also a reliquary.
French, 1157-1200. Wood, paint.
Mary’s large hands draw attention to the Child, who would be holding a book. Christ is depicted as a small adult.
Also nearby, gilded copper, with champlevé, gems.
Mary, crowned, is also Queen of Heaven. Christ, Wisdom, King, holds the book. The figures here are full on, static.
Another nearby, gilded copper, champlevé, Limoges, 1270-1300.
There is an inscription on the base: Ave, Gratia Plena.
Here is Mary, Queen of Heaven, enthroned, who is triumphant over two nasty serpent dragon critters. Think Ps 90/91: 3: “Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem.”
Another, N. France, 1210-20, Mary and Christ are enthroned.
Then… after visiting the interesting, small, Van Gogh exhibit, I decided I would walk through the John Singer Sargent exhibit. I really like his stuff. I figured I would walk through and then come back later for a slow, systematic digestion.
I was in luck! One of the curators of the exhibit was just bringing in two people for private tour and they didn’t mind if I tagged along to listen! So, I got the skinny on many of the paintings, what they were trying to do with the exhibit, how they obtained some of the pieces, anecdotes, etc. I am now determined to be back there at opening to explore more fully. The exhibit is fine and extensive, but not overwhelming, probably about 120 pieces, including watercolors and sketches and, of course, the infamous Madame X!
Finally, check out something really funny we spotted on the Uber app.
(Uber is the shared-ride enterprise that gives the taxi monopoly a little – over due – competition. Cheaper, cleaner, faster, courteous… )
With Uber you can choose the type of vehicle you want. The available cars appear on your map. You can even follow their movement, like an ant farm! Fun.
Take note of the type of vehicle all the way to the faaaar left!
Mayor DeBlasio, pretty much a socialist, when not persecuting the Police Department, has been unfriendly to Uber.
When you click the far left option, you get…
I would have thought that there might pop up an image of a horseless horse carriage dragged by a participants in the “gay” parade….
Tonight, supper with an entrepreneur, a nurse, an Italian opera singer, an Italian clothing designer, and a distinguished canonist.
We opened with a tower of seafood. Jaws dropped. The English couple next door wanted photos.
The oysters were good despite the fact that the month doesn’t have an R.
Cold tomato soup with fennel, pesto and saffron. That’s grated Parmigiano. I would have used a little more saffron.
The wine, if you are curious, is a Sancerre. Hints of grapefruit, good for seafood.
I had Coq au vin. I like to compare how I do it with other presentations. This had a multiplicity of mushrooms, including a Chinese black that really popped out in a good way. I like a bit more gravy with it, but it was good with the rice and pearl onions.
The singer had a risotto of peas and pear and little shrimps. It was glorious, from the small taste I had. I would leave out the shrimp and, instead of the sprout garnish, use summer sorrel or watercress.
One end of the table spoke mainly Italian and the other English, with lots of cross over. At one point our singer burst full voice into an aria, which drew a little fascination. The English couple next to us agreed, on their departure, that we had the cool kids table.
The next time I host a Supper for the Promotion of Clericalism, I may have to make either that tomato soup or that risotto. I regularly make a risotto with pear and Taleggio, which could form a good bis with this one. And, if I make Coq au vin – on the basis of Julia’s recipe – I think I’ll modify it slightly.
So, thus endeth Day 1. Time for some Office!
BTW… today Card. Arinze said Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel here in Manhattan. Not bad.