Monday was a federal holiday so both Nancy and I had off. With all the snow still on the ground we wanted to get out of the house for a while and decided to take a trip to DC. Last semester Nancy had an art appreciation class, for extra credit she could visit any art museum and write a one page report. The class is long over, but we finally decided to visit the National Gallery of Art.
When we arrived in the DC it was pretty desolate with the federal government closed and the city declaring a snow emergency. Finding a garage near the National Gallery of Art was actually real easy. When we surfaced from the depths of the building we had a choice to make, see “old” art or the “new” art. I have been once before to the old art gallery and I was impressed. The marble architecture of the building is amazing. Outside the building looks like any other museum on the Mall. When you walk in from the Mall entrance you are greeted with a huge rotunda and a fountain. There are giant black pillars of marble that ring the space and go all the way to the ceiling.
From this main hall you can go two ways, left or right. (Map: ground, main) Down each hallway you will find various exhibits ranging in style, country and period. Starting from the 13th century and going to the 19th century spanning most every country in Europe. The collection of art includes paintings by such notables as Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, da Vinci, Picasso and many others. Not being familiar with art I was able to point out many famous works myself. Those paintings when you see them you say “I know that piece,” you might not know who painted it, but you know they are world famous works of art.
If you have time I would suggest bringing a book to read while you are there. I know it sounds weird, but there are two garden courts that are just beautiful and so peaceful. Being an art museum there is not a lot of talking, just low murmurs from patrons. In fact the museum has a policy that cell phones are not to be used in the exhibit areas. If I worked in DC I would take my lunch breaks at the two garden courts to relax and decompress. Or sit in front of some of the pieces of art, many of the master works have couches you can sit in while contemplating the meaning of life or what ever the artist intended.
I have always had a great respect for artists; painters and photographers in particular. They have this vision in there head and they somehow transfer that to canvas or cellulose. I might not be able to appreciate all the finer details, but I can still appreciate the work.
After leaving the museum we were hungry so we found a sports bar to grab a drink and lunch. I was hoping to have more options, but most places where closed. We found the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern to enjoy a nice cold beer and some sandwiches. As we ate our lunch the snow really started to come down. The ground was to warm for any accumulations, but at least it was snowing. By the time we left it was almost a full blizzard and I was loving it. Nancy couldn’t wait to get back to the Jeep and into the warmth. On the short walk back to the Jeep Nancy magically transformed herself into the squirrel whisperer. There where a ton of squirrels inhabiting a small park with some trees. Living in the city they are use to humans and probably get a lot of hand outs. Well Nancy starts squeaking and one decided to be brave and check it out. Fortunately it didn’t get to close, but I got some good closeups.
Driving out of the city with the snow proved to be a bit of a nightmare. It was not a full blown rush hour, but traffic was heavy and slow. We finally arrived back at her apartment around 5, almost time for me to leave for class. It was great spending the afternoon in the city as it was almost empty. The snow kept most people away so the streets and museum were pretty quite. I still want to hit the modern art museum next door, might have to do that when spring arrives so I can take advantage of the color the season brings with it.