I squeezed my National Gallery of Art experience into a few hours when really you could quite easily spend an entire day there. So don't consider this post a review but instead consider it a word to the wise! The east building alone is pretty much the entire history of American and European art in one place. I rushed through it though because I was afraid of missing out on the west building, which is modern art. Of course it turned out the west building was being renovated and was mostly closed when I was there!
My art experiences in DC made me realize how much I love modern art. I do appreciate the old stuff and I loved my art history classes in college, and really, when you see a bit of a church painted or carved in 1246 it is kind of an amazing experience. But for all my love and adoration of art I get overwhelmed by gallery after gallery of paintings. The quirky strange modern art, the stuff that is more experimental than classical, is what really interests me. Despite that, I do have a few pieces to share with you.
Three of my favorites from the National Gallery of Art:
Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels by Agnolo Gaddi
Not only is this piece impressively large and well-done (and old! 1380!) but the detail work is exquisite. I love patterns and textures, fabric design really, and delight in discovering inspiration by leaning close.
The Suitor's Visit by Gerard Ter Borch the younger
This is Dutch. I have Dutch heritage so I always think I should feel some connection with Dutch art. I usually don't. This one, however, caught my eye. Surely we've all experienced a similarly awkward experience in our teenage years? The new boyfriend showing up, the dog (he's cropped out of my pic; click the link to see full painting) and the father suspicious, the little sister conveniently planted nearby. And everyone watching the sweet and sacred conversations of young love.
Multiverse by Leo Villareal
What if your canvas was the art museum itself? And your medium was light? Such an interesting stretch of the traditional expectation of the form art takes! I discovered this passageway between the east and west buildings accidentally and made good use of it when avoiding a rainstorm. His work is super interesting to me. It looks like he has been doing installations on bridges (!) – see more on his website.