National Gallery of Art - Washington, D.C.
June 2007

A majestic place I recommend to all students of art!

Steps leading up to the entrance...

There's a statue of Hermes/Mercury in the rotuna lobby...

I didn't get a very good picture of him, but there it is, anyway...

And yes, I saw in person many paintings I've loved through the years...

"A Girl with a Watering Can
oil on canvas, 1876
French, 1841 - 1919

oil on wood, 1889
French, 1848 - 1903

This one was new to me, but I love her sensuous elegance...

The identifying card was missing, so I...

...snapped the artist's signature... Renoir

Nestled among the maze of gallery rooms, we found...

...a very pretty courtyard...

There were many beautiful sculptures...

marble, 1610
Barthélemy Prieur
French, 1540 - 1611

Sword hilt detail...
Giving a feminine face to Justice didn't begin with the French.
The Egyptians also give Justice (Ma'at) a feminine face...

There are not so many famous women artists in the 17th century, but here is one:
(I don't think she really wore that fancy collar when painting!)

oil on canvas, 1630 Judith Leyster
Dutch, 1609 - 1660

I love the way the Impressionists gather sunlight:

"Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son"
oil on canvas, 1875
Claude Monet,
French, 1840 - 1926

But they weren't the first, for this painting just glows of light when you see it...

"Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight"
oil on canvas, 92.3 x 122.8 cm (36 3/8 x 48 3/8 in.), 1835
Joseph Mallord William Turner
British, 1775 - 1851

We could not see everything at this museum in one day, so we returned and found we'd barely covered half of the West building.

There were more sculptures and vessels of every size and description, these from the permanent collection:

Chalice of the Abbot Suger of Saint-Denis
(gold and silver jeweled mounting - French 12th Century) (sardonyx cup - Alexandria, Egypt 2nd/1st Century B.C.)

"Neptune on a Sea Monster" c. 1500/1509
Bronze 45.6 x 26.7 x 20 cm (17 7/8 x 10 1/2 x 7 7/8 in.)
North Italian, active in Ravenna and Padua 1496-1525/1538

And there were so many Chinese porcelains...

KANGXI REIGN c. 1662-1722
Famille verte enamels on biscuit porcelain

This piece is from the 13th century, but there's a modern feeling about it:

Aquamanile in the Form of a Horseman 13th century
Bronze, probably English or Scandinavian

I could not help me and the camera eye getting into the pictures.
Sometimes, I took direct advantage of these reflective surfaces.

In this mirrored cabinet, we seem as ghosts from the future...

The picture above was the last image I captured. I was next in the middle of trying to get one of Julia and I behind a huge standing candlabra when the viewfinder went black. I tried different batteries, but still had a blank screen. I suspect I taxed the total storage capacities of the memory card. I'd been getting an unusual red flashing warning I'd not seen before. So the camera lasted nearly the entire trip. I'd have loved to get photos of the Calders in the East wing. An entire area was devoted to his fun. In addition to their intrinsic qualities, there was shadow play on the walls which added to the total effect.

There was another of those jeweled fish, one of which I'd seen at Smithsonian's American Art Museum, but this one at the NGA featured winged hands and was suspended from the ceiling. Two shadows from it appeared on the nearby wall, such that the onlooker sees the original piece, then below it a fairly detailed shadow and below that, a second shadow less detailed.

This Calder mobile was at the nearby Hirschhorn. Their displays did not take this advantage of lighting possibilities...

We finished our visit with eating gelato in the expresso/gelato cafe. I picked seats by the huge rushing water cascade and savored each tiny spoonful.

All photos © Joan Ann Lansberry
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