Posted by: Katherine | March 9, 2010

A Thing of Beauty…

For his class, James needs to assign a trip to a museum and when he saw an ad for an exhibit that would be on display at the National Gallery of Art on Spanish religious art, it seemed like a good time to make a trip to the District.

The exhibit James was particularly interested in, The Sacred Made Real, was wonderful. The statues of St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius Loyola and a life-size crucifix were especially amazing. Just beautiful. We were not permitted to take photos in this exhibit, so I have none to show you. But here are are my favorites as taken from their website in the order I listed above:

The gallery has an especially nice collection of french paintings. I couldn’t get over how detailed many of them were even when they were no bigger than a sheet of paper. The highlights of the french paintings though had to be the Monets and the Renoirs. Oh, so awesome!

Monet’s Japanese Footbridge was especially beautiful.

Cecilia took to Renoir’s Dancer.

I also thought it was really neat to be able to see this Seurat so close up!

I am not a connoisoir of art, but even I recognized this one by Van Gogh….. with his, um, good side.

I was excited to have an Olivia moment when we spotted this Pollock:

Olivia insists she could do such a painting easily and attempts to do so when she gets home on the wall. “Time Out,” indeed! I thought this painted wooden piece was very impressive. If you’ve seen the film Glory, this is of the real Robert Shaw (Matthew Broderick’s character) and the 54th Regiment.

We also found this gem by the famous portrait artist Gilbert Stuart:

If only we had such a president now. :::sigh::: Now, I admit the girls weren’t as excited by all the pieces as we were. They certainly recognized Jesus and Mary in some of them and pointed out horses or dogs or cats or children in them. They also enjoyed the gardens.

While I thought the film The Girl With The Pearl Earring was on the boring side, I love Vermeer’s paintings and, happily, the gallery had some.

Of course, there were some beautiful surprises from artists we didn’t know as well. This one was by “The Master of the Saint Lucy Legend”.

This one by Jan Van Eyck.

This English or Spanish 14th century of The Holy Trinity:

Calvary by the Master of the Death of Saint Nicholas of Munster. Notice the devil and the angel with each of the theives.

Bartolome Esteban Murillo’s Return of the Prodigal Son:

And many others. One big highlight for Cecilia was seeing this:

A copy of this painting of Saint Cecilia and an Angel by Orazio Gentileschi and Giovanni Lanfranco hangs above Cecilia’s bed. When I asked, “Hey, Cecilia, who is this one of?” she replied, “Me!”

I also loved this painting of Elizabeth’s other patron, St. Agnes, by El Greco:

Some of the paintings took us back to our days in Rome. Ahhhh, Rome. It was so nice to see these pieces to take me back to Italy. Raphael’s Alba’s Madonna:

Bellini and Titian’s Feast of the Gods:

and Andrea Della Robbia’s Adoration of the Child:

Overall it was a really nice trip. We were at the Gallery almost four hours before the girls began conspiring against us, but, considering we went as a family, all five of us, four hours is not bad.

I do one to mention one find I am so excited about. In the Gallery’s book store we found No One Saw by Bob Raczka. It is a wonderful book with beautiful full color reproductions of 16 artist’s paintings and how those artist’s had their own creative and unique view of life. Okay, I took this picture quickly on my computer, so the letters are backwards, but it says, “No one saw stars like Vincent van Gogh.”

It is a wonderful beautiful book that not only gives kids big colorful reproductions of these works of art but tells them that each artist’s view is different and worth taking a look at and just as each of them saw something special, your view is special too. Love this book.

We didn’t quite get to everything, so hopefully we will get back to finish sometime soon but I hope you enjoyed our trip to the National Gallery of Art and hope you can enjoy a trip there sometime too.

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