A cauliflower steak is a thing

to begin with, roasted, encrusted with falafel and embellished with baby arugula and lemon salsa verde. But it is something else again when it has been crafted “by Chef Bill Tellepan who found great inspiration from the plant-based menu for the Met Gala.”  At the Metropolitan Museum, all things become elevated, and that includes an overpriced slice of the “75th Anniversary Cake.” Dense, white and so sweet, it almost made me cry.

I like to envision AOC at the recent Met Gala, the fashion industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, in her white gown slashed with the words Tax the Rich, wolfing down a slice of this cake.

When you go to the Met, it’s a good thing to focus on one exhibit if you don’t want your eyes to spin in your head. So the Portraiture of the Medicis seemed like a good idea.

However, I got distracted by the old Dutch masters, Rembrandt and the like, that hang just across from the dining room.

I love this aspiring artist, Gerard de Lairesse, sad and diseased, disfigured by syphilis, who began as a pupil of Rembrant’s and eventually disparaged his master’s brush strokes, comparing his work to “liquid mud on the canvas.”  Sour grapes, methink, to disdain Rembrandt, one of the greatest of all time, who died a pauper.

On to 16th century Venice. I think some of those portrayed look a bit cartoonish.

But Duke Cosimo and the rest of the Venetian royalty must have liked them, they commissioned pictures of themselves again and again.

Who doesn’t like a baby, especially a royal child of Cosimo and Eleanora de Medici?

Unfortunately he was to die of malaria on a family hunting trip to Tuscany.

A dress of red velvet amazingly preserved and displayed was originally worn by Eleanor, then wound up in a convent where it was used to clothe statues of saints. For textiles to have survived all this time they have to have been helped along by God or his minions.

I’ve seen this arrogant young man before, Ludovico Capponi, in the Frick Collection, adorned in a black taffeta jerkin, painted by Bronzino in 1550. He was supposedly quite the ladies man.

And naturally had quite the codpiece.

If you scan the rooms of the exhibit, it might strike you that something is missing. Oh, yes, the female sex. Certainly men dominated as Italian rulers at that time, but you can search out a few powerful women.

This is Laura Battiferri and she was a celebrated poet. She had something going on with poet and painter Bronzino (platonic–haha)S and he wrote to her: “You, through your own valor, vanquish (Petrarch’s) Laura and (Dante’s) Beatrice, and you are above them in worth, and perhaps also their lovers in style and song.” He didn’t pose her with a codpiece but an open book.

It brought to mind another revered woman of the Rennaisance, this one French: Louise Labe. Her remarkable life included expert horsemanship and crossdressing as a courier as well as producing some of the finest poetry of the age. I wonder if she and Laura Battiferi knew of each other. 

I have decided that Louise Labe’s life must be rendered in book form, nonfiction or fiction as yet to be determined. I think I will have to write it.

The air grows muggy among the Venetian aristocrats, no matter how much their costumes are to be admired.

The rooftop view makes the canopy of Central Park look like one gigantic green pillow. I would like a dollar for every photo taken of the skyline in an afternoon.

A young guy walks by wearing a black tee shirt emblazoned with the words of Melville’s Bartleby: I WOULD PREFER NOT TO. If you have not read this short story, Bartleby the Scrivener, please get on your Kindle and do so after you finish reading this post.

Someone’s idea of art. Anything goes up on the roof of the Met. There once was a haunted house there.

Lines extend all around the Temple of Dendur, people wanting to get into the costume exhibit that just opened and was celebrated by the Gala and its plant-based cuisine. Let them eat plant-based cake!

An “ambassador” named Susan had been assigned to keep people from wandering into the wrong galleries by mistake. I think in that outfit I would follow her anywhere.

With a head rendered mushy by art over indulgence, I make my way out of the building, but not before stopping in front of something that proves the Metropolitan does absolutely contain multitudes.

A taxidermied deer adorned with scads of crystal bubbles.

Is it time for a nap? I think so.

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