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.