A perfect place to slow down and rest your feet and reinvigorate your eyes. The sculpture garden squeezes 17 major sculptures from world famous international artists into a six acre square just off the National Mall. Works by Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Bourgeois and Tony Smith crowd around a tranquil central fountain. It forms part of the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art, which, like the garden, is free to enter.
This was one of the last museums we visited in Washington. with less than a week to our Canadian travel, I had to choose between the National Archives and the National Art Gallery. Well I chose the Art Gallery because I wanted to see the permanent collection of European art house in the west wing of the enormous gallery. That aside, the many American sculptures, paintings and decorative art that have shaped the American Art world. Lucky for me, at the end of the day, we were able to even visit the National Archives.
It was an awfully hot day in Washington (well all summer has been, record high temperatures this year). It was nice to get indoors with my 5 month old son and 12 year old daughter. We started at the West wing to be sure to cover the European art with the mind to go to the East wing when we were done. The gallery is currently show casing the works of George Bellows in the main floor galleries.
The collection of art include the French Renaissance painters and renown artists like Renoir, Monate, Francois etc. I enjoyed the marble sculptures and Italian pieces. The museum is large, we barely made it through the West wing, by the time we decided to go to the East wing, it was closing time.
The National Gallery of Art was created in 1937 through the generous donation of Andrew Mellon and was initially housed in what is now the West Building. In 1978, the East Building was opened and in 1999, the museum opened the Sculpture Garden. Although not part of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum is located on the National Mall and admission is free. The West Building houses most of the classic art, being works created up to the 19th century and the East Building houses modern and contemporary art. The West Building has two floors, but most of the works are on the main floor. They are generally organized by time period and nationality and there is enough here that you could easily spend an entire day. I particularly like the French Impressionist paintings and older Italian paintings. The East Building has several floors, including a mezzanine and tower, but the openness of the floor plan limits how much is on exhibit on each floor. The ground floors of the two buildings are connected beneath 4th Street with a tunnel and there is a pretty big gift store on the West Building side.
The National Gallery of Art is a marvelous museum of art located on the National Mall. There are so many fabulous artworks to admire here: painting, prints, photography, sculpture, tapestries, architecture, and from many different artists! My favourites here are the collection of fabulous art by 19th-Century French painters: Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, etc. This is a wonderful museum! I cannot wait to go back! Be sure to check out my Travelogue photos, too.
In the West Building of National Gallery of Art there are beautifully set up Garden Courts at the end of East and West Sculpture Gallery. The square green space with rows of classical columns on the two sides and a round fountain in the middle is covered by a semi-cylindrycal glass roof. Some people toss a coin into a fountain to come back again to this place someday.
Concerts are held in the West Garden Court almost on each Sunday at 6:30 p.m. They are free of charge. Admittance is on a first-come, first-seated basis, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Follow the link below to check up-to-date calendar of museum concerts.
The National Gallery of Art houses an impressive collection of world art, who can say no to paintings made by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet etc?
It opened in 1937, 4 years after Andrew W. Mellon donated his collection upon his death. The building is typical in The Mall in neoclassical style(pic 1) with ionic colums in front and some nice hallways (pic 2) while there are some nice halls and open spaces with fountains (pic 3) that will help to empty your thoughts for a while before you get overdosed by art :)
The museum isn’t small but as I get tired staying more than 3 hours in any museum I preferred to see specific sections and enjoy it more this way.
So, I skipped the medieval section and spent only a little time for Renaissance works but it is an interesting collection including Raphael, Botticelli even a portrait made by Leonardo da Vinci! Of course, the Impressionist gallery will cut your breath too with several top class paintings.
What I loved was those paintings from 15th and 16th century. My favorite ones are in the dutch sectione(you can see the first 2 at pics 4&5):
“Daniel in the Lions’ Den” oil on canvas 1616 by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish 1577-1640)
“Still Life with Swan and Game before a Country Estate” oil on canvas 1685 by Jan Weenix (Dutch, 1642-1719)
“The Dancing Couple” oil on canvas 1663 by Jan Steen (Dutch, 1626-1679)
“The Fall of Man” oil on canvas 1616 by Hendrik Goltziousn (Dutch, 1558-1617)
“Silvio with the Wounded Dorinda” oil on canvas 1651 by Louis Vallee (Dutch, 1653)
The museum isn’t part of the Smithsonian Institute but it’s for free too. It is open daily 10.00-17.30
While the National Gallery of Art is not part of the Smithsonian Institute, it is free despite being one of the largest and most impressive collections of art in not only the United States but the world. Thanks to the generous donation of Andrew W. Mellon's collection upon his death in 1937, Congress created the ambitious endeavor for the people of the United States. It opened in 1941 though an additional building was added in 1978 to help house the growing collection.
While it may not be the Louvre, this is no two hour walk through. In fact, two hours will be a very cursory visit through a small portion of the sprawling collection. If you have something you want to see, you might want to map out your trip or plan to spend an entire day to fully see even one building.
This was very high on our list of places to visit and we spent about four hours in a very well-planned exploration. It was one of the main things that had us wishing we had a week in town rather than four days!
It is almost impossible to take a vacation in Washington DC and not to visit a museum. Museums are practically a staple of the DC travel itinerary.
This is due to several factors, but Washington DC has a number of amazing museums that are practically destinations on their own.
The collection of the NGA filled with paintings by world famous artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh.
The only portrait by Leonardo in America.is the portrait of a young Florentine noblewoman Ginevra de' Benci.
A 1905 masterpiece by Pablo Picasso, Garcon a la Pipe is famous for being one of the highest priced paintings ever sold ($104m ), became the world's most expensive painting.
In the collection you can find also my favourite Nr. 1., - Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet.
The Gallery is one of the first major museums to go online. One can search the permanent collection by artist, title, subject, school, style, historical period, medium or any combination of these.
This was a wonderful relief to find in such heat when I was visiting. We ventured into the 6.1 acre garden and discovered it had all these wonderful sculptures to enjoy and plus it had this huge fountain to sit by and stick our feet in. Lots of wonderful plants and flowers to enjoy too!
During the winter months the fountain area in converted to a ice skating rink during November 15 thru March 15 weather permitting.
Regular hours are:
Mon - Thurs 10am - 5pm
Friday - Sat 10am - midnight
Sunday 11am - 9 Pm
Sculpture Garden Open
Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm
Sun 11am - 6pm
There are brocures by the gate with alot of wonderful imformation and tells you about each of the sculptures.
I already have a tip on the National Gallery but this deserves its own space. This is the only place in the U.S. where you can see a da Vinci painting, Ginevra de Benci, which is of oil on wood and is dated between 1474-78. Adding to its interest, both sides of the panel are painted. The back has a juniper wreath with the Latin words "Beauty Adorns Virtue". It is also unusual in that the background is an open landscape instead of an interior room, and it is a three quarter view, not a profile, which was the established norm of the day.
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