The Cat Come Back – All the Way from 16th-Century Rome

Da Vinci’s Cat
Written by Katherine Gilbert Murdocki
Paul O. painted by zelinsky

On any typical pre-Covid summer day, more than 30,000 visitors bowed their necks to see the ceiling of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, one of the greatest achievements of Western art. I wasn’t one of them when I moved to Rome a few years ago with my parents, who had already seen the roof and weren’t excited about waiting in line for hours. I was not among them, along with my kids, who were less enthusiastic about the lines. Nor did I see it as backpackers in the late 1980s, when restorers were injecting polyvinylacetate resin in its cracks. From 1710 to 1713 the frescoes were cleaned with a sponge dipped in Greek wine. A dark patina was removed with moist bread in 1625. In 1511 the plaster was still wet and Michelangelo stood on his scaffold, the painting, which begins when “Da Vinci’s Cat”, by the venerable Catherine Gilbert Murdock (“The Book of the Boy”) of Newbery.

Sir Federico Gonzaga, son of Francesco II, Duke of Mantua, is vain, arrogant and cunning. To be fair, though, he’s only 11 years old. He is also away from home and friendless. Pope Julius II’s political captor in 16th-century Rome, Federico is confined to the Vatican, but he is not actually a victim. He eats sugared almonds and wears rings on his fingers and pearls on his hat. He plays backgammon with the Pope, frowned upon by the artist Raphael – who painted his portrait – and is endeared by the latter’s rival, the great and distinctly stinky Michelangelo, who wants to paint his masterpiece. is half way through. However, Federico is alone in pain. So when he finds a kitten in a fancy carved closet, he is delighted. When the kitten goes back to the closet and disappears into thin air, it is trampled on. And when she reappears, seconds later, full grown, she becomes dumbfounded.

It’s not long before this closet was produced by Herbert Bother, a affable art dealer from 1920s New Jersey, who explains that it’s actually a time machine designed by Leonardo da Vinci, and designed by the adult feline Leonardo. the cat is. Bother travels to 1511 to purchase sketches by Renaissance masters for resale. He enlisted Federico with the promise of friendship and future chocolate-coated peanut candy. So begins a chain of events that transports us, and heck, through time and space to contemporary New Jersey, where we meet an 11-year-old Bee from Brooklyn. Curious, sympathetic and adventurous, Bee becomes embroiled in the problem of an elderly neighbor and, before she knows it, is taken back to 16th-century Rome to solve the mystery of a drawing by Raphael. May or may not happen or may not happen. The bee itself The resemblance is uncanny.

At the Vatican, Bea and Federico become temporary, then close friends and together set to fix everything, but not before wreaking havoc on history, nearly wrecking the Sistine’s roof, and B himself.

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