NYMysteries  Dec. 29

A Perfect Outing

A friend and I had an early and quiet lunch in the Via Quadronno restaurant on 73rd Street. I had what I always have: steamed and chilled asparagus in a vinaigrette sauce. In English the dish doesn’t have the hypnotic spell it has in Italian: Asparagi Verdi Freschi in Salsina Vinaigrette. My friend tucked into one of the delicious paninis. 

After lunch we walked down Fifth to 70th Street to see two Frick Collection exhibits: The Charterhouse of Bruges and Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome: Luigi Valadier. 

A charterhouse is a Carthusian monastery. The Bruges Charterhouse prior in 1441 was Jan Vos. He commissioned Jan van Eyck to paint The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth and himself. The Virgin holds the baby Jesus.  She stands on an ornate pedestal in a luxurious room far above the city of Bruges. Out one window we see the tower in which St. Barbara’s father had imprisoned her. Jan Vos kneels in front of St. Barbara. St. Elizabeth stands to the right and is dressed as a nun. It is a saintly painting. What’s surprised me was that the painting is filled with military illusions: Prior Vos had been a Teutonic Knight and St. Barbara was the patron saint of artillerymen. This exhibit is in the Cabinet, a small space that allows you to get close to the van Eyck painting as well as the works of Petrus Christus. .

Jan van Eyck: The Virgin and Child with St. Barbara, St. Elizabeth and Jan Vos. The Frick Collection




Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome: Luigi Valadier is a breathtaking exhibit of the art of Luigi Valadier.  He was an extraordinary designer.  In addition to works such as The Triumph of Bacchus, he was celebrated for his elaborate table settings. Imagine miniature Roman temples, arches and obelisks sprawled across the dining room table. Valadier produced these works of unique art for the popes and the Roman noble families who often did not pay him. Burdened with debt, he committed suicide. His son was the architect of Piazza del Popolo

Valadier: The Triumph of Bacchus
Louvre Museum










Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook?