“Sure, the fireworks tonight will be spectacular. They’re spectacular every year, and this time they’re supposed to be bigger than ever.
“But four centuries ago, when people really had imagination, they staged fireworks displays on the Arno River in Florence in which mock battles between dyers and silk weavers vying for the queen’s favor ended with the weavers’ getting tossed in the river and the god Vulcan erupting in the form of a huge fireball.
“Good clean mayhem and educational, too! That and other historical nuggets can be
learned from ‘Fireworks!,’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through Sept. 17. I suggest you spare yourself the happy crowds, the bombs bursting in air, the balmy breezes of a long summer evening. Stay home watching reruns tonight after spending a few hours this afternoon in the Met perusing old prints and drawings of long-forgotten pyrotechnical displays.”