on July 12, 2002
Over the past few decades, the National Gallery of Art has become one of the world’s greatest repository’s of art – rivaling the Met in New York and the Tate in London. There is so much to see here it can be overwhelming. The first thing I always do is hit the computer room. They have the entire collection in their database, so you can research artists, periods, subject matter -- even plan a personalized itinerary.
There are always at least one or two major exhibitions going on (some charge admission) so be sure to check with docents at the front desk. I’ve seen everything from Leonardo Da Vinci’s early sketches to watercolors by Monet. Personally, I’m gonzo for Renaissance art -- particularly paintings from Northern Europe (Netherlands, Flanders, etc.), so I always gravitate to "Portrait of a Lady" by Rogier van der Weyden and Quentin Massys' "Ill-Matched Lovers." They also have amazing works by Durer, Breugel and Bosch.
If modern art is more your thing, most of the East building is devoted to 20th century works. Seminal works by artists like Lichtenstein, Picasso and Warhol just pop out at you from every direction. (There is people-mover that connects the two buildings).
The Gallery’s gift shop ranks far above the usual tchotcke venders, and is full of framed prints, art books and unique presents. For a real treat, dine in the gallery’s cafeteria on the lower level.
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