I spent today in the air. Flying above the planet. Moving from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Star Trek was right. Beam me up Scotty!
Ok, well, it wasn’t quite like that. It didn’t happen with a tri-corder. And my matter didn’t distribute in NJ and combine back together in Los Angeles. Er – no. I was cramped in a window seat, on a packed jet for almost 6 hours. It was time to make lemonade out of lemons.
The solution? My in-seat flight entertainment system! Hooray! M-O-V-I-E-S!!! I watched 2 3/4 movies. First was Bridge of Spies, then The Monuments Men, then 3/4 of The Martian. I guess I’ll watch the end of that one on the way home on Thursday morning.
By the time The Monuments Men started, I was snuggled into my seat, well absorbed in the entertainment zone. But then something happened. All of a sudden I was staring at something on-screen that I stood a foot away from in real life. It was Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in Brugge.
If you havent seen the Monuments Men — you need to check it out. I’m not sure how I have missed it for so long. The movie came out in 2014 and stars George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Matt Damon, and many other wonderful actors. The premise of the movie is that a small group of art historians volunteer to go into Germany at the tail end of WWII in attempts to rescue thousands of pieces of priceless art works that Hitler and the Nazis were stealing from public and private art collections.
It was a fascinating story really. And I was buying into the entertainment — UNTIL — the movie went to Brugge Belgium, and — there she was. Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. The only known Michelangelo to exist outside of Italy. The Nazi’s stole her. Well, they stole thousands of priceless works — but they stole the Madonna and Child and hid her (any many other pieces) in a salt mine in Altaussee, Austria. She was rescued by Captain Robert Posey and Pfc. Lincoln Kirstei.
You see – we saw the Madonna in Brugge, when Peter, the girls and I were in Paris four years ago. We took a day trip to Brugge and we went to The Church of Our Lady to see her. Michelangelo’s Madonna. We stood only a few feet from her. Peter, Cait, Erin and I. We stood in the shadow of the genius of Michelangelo. Yet – not until today – did I realize just how close we [you, me, Cait, Erin, Peter, HUMANITY] came — to never seeing her again. Ever.
On that same trip to Paris, we stumbled into the Rodin Museum. Rodin’s garden is an AMAZING place. The Nazi’s stole Rodin’s pieces too. They were hidden in Neuschwanstein Castle, nearly straddling the German-Austrian border. Not to mention all the private art-work that was stolen from their Jewish owners before the atrocities. it’s almost too much to comprehend. The totality of it all.
I must read more about these Monuments Men. They gave us back our history. They rescued….the color, fire and light of so much culture that was/is Europe.
Go see her — if you can. She is stunning. Even more so now – knowing more of her story.
Ciao for now…..Diane