Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A visit to The National Art Gallery in Washington DC - Part 1


One of our favorite things to do is to pick a place in Washington DC to go to.  It is 25 miles into the city from our home.  Usually we head to one of the Smithsonian Museums but this time we wanted to visit the National Gallery of Art.  We know of an underground parking facility that isn't exactly close and we don't mind the exercise, but occasionally you can get lucky and find a metered parking space near by, as was the case this day.  We walked across the Mall and in one direction is The Capitol....


and in the other the Washington Monument, but this photograph was actually taken from the steps of the National Gallery of Art.  It was towards the end of the summer so you can still see people in short sleeves.  


The flowers below were out front.


When you walk through the doors the Central Rotunda greets you.  This was modeled after The Pantheon in Rome.  

 
The bronze statue is of Mercury, c1780/c1850 by Giovanni Bologna, Flemish, active in Italy, 1529 - 1608.  This information I read on a plaque. 


Before I forget I found a wonderful blog with great photographs here.  The page features another favorite of ours, The National Museum of Natural History, but if you scroll down past that museum you will see more of the National Art Gallery.


There are two long corridors on the right and left of the fountain, each corridor having the most wonderful statues, and the doorways take you into the art exhibits.


"Justice" - marble, 1610 - Barthelemy Prieur - French, 1540-1611


Galatea - marble, 1701 - Robert Le Lorrain - French, 1666 - 1743


Cupid - marble, 1744 - Edme Bouchardon - French, 1698-1762


A Vestel - marble, 1770 - Claude Michel, called Clodion 
French, 1738-1814

While there I noticed others taking photos of the paintings, and asked one of the security guards if we were allowed to do this.  He was extremely nice and said yes, I could take as many photographs as I wanted to.  Such a nice man, very warm and polite.  We found this to be the case with other security guards also, because being the nosy curious person that I am, I took notice of their interactions with other visitors while we were walking around.  One lady, in total awe of a painting, actually put her fingers up to touch and the guard very gently, quietly and apologetically told her she could not do that, she wasn't allowed.  She was an older lady, in her late 80s and I was very happy to see that he treated her with the utmost respect.  She realized her faux pas and said loud enough for me to hear, "I am so sorry" as if  in a total daze, "I just wanted to feel the brushstrokes of a master artist."  She had caught herself in a moment of total awe.  I honestly knew how she felt.  The feeling one gets while looking at these paintings is indescribable.


Madame Le Fevre de Caumartin as Hebe - oil on canvas, 1753 - Jean Marc Nattier - French, 1685-1766


You can get in a bit of a trance staring at these incredible works of art, they become almost hypnotic.





Allegory of Painting - Oil on Canvas, 1765 - Francois Boucher - French, 1703-1770








The Marquesa de Pontejos - oil on canvas, c 1786 - Francisco de Goya 
Spanish, 1746-1828





Ange Laurent de La Live de Jully - oil on canvas probably 1759 - Jean Baptiste Greuze - French, 1725-1805


The Camera Obscura - oil on canvas, 1764 
Charles Amedee Philippe Van Loo - French, 1719-1795





Madame Bergeret - oil on canvas, possibly 1766
Francois Boucher - French, 1703-1770






I will have another post from The National Gallery in the not too distant future.


30 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

looks like quite the place to soak in some culture. :) i like the personal touch you gave to the security personnel.

Stephanie said...

I am looking forward to more photos. I would probably do that same as that lady. The art is absolutely gorgeous! In Vancouver, we had an exhibition of the Impressionist at the Vancouver Art Gallery some years ago. I was enchanted by the great works of Degas, Mattisse to name a few. It was wonderful to see up close their brush strokes. Wonderful post! :-))

Rose ~ from Oz said...

Denise, marvellous post! Lucky you living so close to all those wonderful galleries and museums. I'd have to camp out ;) and get my fill.
I believe summers in DC can be horrific.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.

William Kendall said...

I would be very happy wandering through there. I really do have to get back in our national gallery, now that they have a photos allowed policy.

happywonderer said...

There is so so much to see in D.C. How wonderful to be a drive away to enjoy a small part at a time. I was so overwhelmed trying to take it all in in the short time I was there with Dear during one of his conferences. Have you ever been to Hillwood Estate and Gardens?

sallie (fulltime-Life.com) said...

You are so lucky to live close to these treasures! Thank you for sharing them with us. I hope to see the wonders of Washington DC just once !!! (High on our travel bucket list.)

Bill Nicholls said...

Amazing painting, to me this is art not the rubbish they pass as it now

Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

That's a place I'd like to see someday. Great post, great photos - love the bit about the security guard. Wow!

orvokki said...

Wonderful museum.
Thanks for sharing.
And your new header is also lovely.

Margaret Adamson said...

this is a wonderful art gallery. I am very surprised that you were allowed to take photographs inside especially of the beautiful painitings. I take an Art Appreciation class and we would have loved seeing the is buildings adn contents. Last night I took 17 people to a cinema in Belfast where we saw a video linked event from the Vatican Museums in 3 D. It was wonderful.

Linda P. said...

You're fortunate to have a national collection of art works within driving distance. I've been studying the paintings on your post for ages and love the vignettes of little details too. The statues are also very beautiful especially the one of Mercury in the impressive hall. There's a similar one in Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK. What wonderful art treasures we can enjoy in these public galleries, museums and grand houses!

Country Gal said...

Looks like a nice place to visit and get in some history and culture ! Lovely photos , thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Nice post, I like it when museums let people take photographs.

I'm adding the Art Gallery to my bucket list.

carolann said...

Oil on Canvas is so beautiful. I enjoyed your tour. Thank you.

Yes you are lucky to be so close to enjoy this history.

Pam said...

Great photos! I love the shot of the capital with all the clouds. Thanks for taking us with you to the museum.

Indrani said...

Grand interiors and excellent display pieces. Very well photographed, thank you for showing. :)

EG CameraGirl said...

I can understand why the older woman would want to touch the painting. It's wonderful that the guard was understanding but firm too. Wonderful art!

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

A beautiful place. I love the winged Mercury but dislike Fragonard. Sent my renewal for the Associates Program this AM. We will visit more often this winter, I think...if I can convince David he needs something to eat besides bratwurst. Ha Ha

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Even in the photos the painting look amazing. Thanks for sharing them!

thesegreenwoods said...

These paintings are beautiful, the are gallery is very impressive too,thank you so much for sharing them.

Sandra said...

they are all spectacular and glad to hear a story of good and decent people doing the righ thing. i love the header shot and my favorite is Allegory of Painting

Adam said...

beautiful art gallery

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I've been there long ago. And it's phenomenal...as are your photos.

".E." Lizard Breath Speaks, Beth said...

i really wonder how the artists starts ... on paintings or even those statues. i bet it take years to think. or maybe they are super creative and just let it flow very quickly. my artistic side has changed lots over the years. i love DC. not sure i could live there, but i enjoy a view or 2. ( :

Linda Gross said...

How fortunate that you live close enough to DC to make frequent visits there. I was saying to my husband the other day that it has been way too long since we visited DC. I like how you took a photograph of the artwork and then close up pictures of the work of art.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

When I visited, I loved the continous little galleries around each corner and lots of spots to sit and meditate with the masters...just beautiful.

Felicia said...

Oh wow, those paintings are gorgeous. No wonder the lady wanted to touch it.

Just beautiful. thanks for sharing your wonderful photos Denise.

Marie said...

STUNNING photos of all that incredibly beautiful art! Wow! It brought back memories for me too. We have visited there a number of times. Great post!!!

Susan said...

I'm glad I went back to the start of this series of your posts Denise. It's beaut too how you were allowed to take photos of them. I loved the story of the lady in her 80s who was in awe. Those security guards were so nice :D)