Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Washington 1: The National Gallery

C.S. and I went to Washington, D.C. over the Labor Day weekend and had a fantastic time. Everyone else must have stayed home or gone to the beach for a cookout, because we practically had the place to ourselves.

We missed way more than we saw--D.C. is like that!--but we still saw enough to require multiple postings.

One of the highlights was the National Gallery. I could have spent a week there, maybe two. We only had a few hours, which is blasphemy for any museum that has more than one room, much less a fabulous place like the Nat. Even in our limited time, man, did we see some great art!

We saw these glowy masterpieces:

We saw these emotive wonders:

We saw this little gem (it's really tiny, and it has the most lovely details):

And we saw these (I could've looked at the Sargents all day long, except there was something else fabulous just around the corner):

This has long been one of my favorites:

But oddly enough, this was the one that really captured my attention in person. You can really see what Manet is doing for painting here: The flat pieces of the composition versus traditionally rounded, shaded three-dimensional pieces, the textures, the perspective, the colors, the subtlety, the solidity of it . . . . Just great stuff, and basically life-size, too. I'm no painter, but as the saying goes, I know what I like.

Manet's The Dead Toreador (1864)

It didn't do anything for C.S., though. He was much more taken by this one:

Bellows' Both Members of This Club (1909)

All awe-inspiring, mind-expanding stuff. I can hardly wait to go back when I have more time, although I'm not sure anything but a lifetime of visits would do it justice.


  1. I love going to DC. I haven't been in years and I haven't seen everything I want to. Thanks for sharing the photos.
    Also thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I appreciate what you said and its definitely something to keep in mind.

  2. I have to say that one of the big fat treats of living here is the sheer number of fabulous galleries we have been making it to.

    Love love love it all....such a treat to see your picks too!

  3. Sigh. I love Monet.

    And DC. I absolutely love DC. So much to see and so little time!


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