Cutlery and wineglasses were laid down, conversations—indeed, chewing even—ceased. Slowly, the hush of darkness was broken by a single spotlight: the countenance of a feminine figure luminesced, almost magically, against the darker background of this mystery painting we had been waiting for weeks to see.
“A masterpiece will be revealed,” our friends at American Express had promised then, along with an invitation to the wine dinner we were now partway through. “You’ll be dining with a 16th century painting by one of the world’s greatest artists.”
Did any of us expect to see the Mona Lisa? My expectations had been not nearly as lofty, and that made the surprise even more magical.