A visit to the “Renaissance Venice: Drawings from the Morgan” exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum was the centerpiece of our latest foray-cation last Sunday. It had been around 20 years since my last visit to the Morgan, and it has changed vastly since then – the new entrance and atrium that connects the buildings housing the museum, a restoration of the main part of the collection, even the name of the institution has changed (they added the “& Museum” part in 2006).
When you think of Renaissance Venice, you think of Titian, and sure enough, several of his drawings were included in the exhibit. But there were drawings by many artists who were contemporaries of Titian like Paris Bordone and a number of pieces by artists I had never heard of before, like Vittore Carpaccio. And of course, Titian’s younger colleagues and competitors Veronese and Tintoretto were well-represented.
Included in the spacious atrium is the lovely Cafe that offers light fare. Well, honestly, it is just a matter of them putting out tables and chairs across a section of the atrium floor and setting up a waiter’s station. But it works.
For lunch, I ordered the Pierpont Salad, and asked them to put the Vermont Cheddar cheese on the side (for Therese), but something went wrong in the translation. When the salad came, the cheese was incorporated into the salad, while the bacon and haricot vert were missing. I was so hungry I hardly noticed until I was near finishing, when suddenly it occurred to me, “hey, wasn’t this salad supposed to have more to it?” And luckily the cheese was in big chunks, which were easy to remove. The chicken in the salad was moist and nicely seasoned, and I enjoyed it all around. They were out of cream soda, but they had root beer – almost as nice.
After finishing our light lunch, we took in an exhibit on Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s opera “Einstein on the Beach,” one of my favorite modern operas. Then to finish our time at the Museum, we walked through the newly-restored rotunda, study and library. The study, with its Memling paintings and so many other priceless treasures, is simply amazing. And the Renaissance-style decorations covering the ceilings of the rotunda and library remind us that Pierpont Morgan considered himself a modern-day inheritor of the legacy of the Medicis and the Sforzas.
Where to next? My original idea had been that we might catch a movie at the nearby Kip’s Bay Cinemas complex. But Therese was feeling like some coffee, and L.A. Burdick, one of our favorite chocolate and coffee shops, was within walking distance. The last time I was there, I didn’t have a chance to try their hot chocolate made with almond milk (completely dairy free, whoopie!), but this time I did.
It was incredibly rich and strong. I loved it. I don’t know if you can tell, but the saucer had “Burdick” written in capital letters while the cup was surrounded by the word “chocolate”. And when I finished drinking it, my reward was to discover the letter B at the bottom of the cup!
What a fun afternoon! We walked over to the Avenue of the Americas to take an uptown MTA bus home (both the #5 and the #7 would work for us). When we did, we discovered a new Trader Joe’s – at least it was new to us – on 6th Avenue and 20th Street. Since we knew we were out of some Trader Joe’s specialties, we stopped in and walked out 20 minutes later with our arms full of bags of groceries. Then, we finally did head for the bus and home, satisfied we had made the most of our Sunday afternoon in New York City.