Museum Musings: National Gallery of Art

A cool canopy of trees and soft filtered light from above; it feels like the early morning cool of the jungle before the sun has risen.  Well, minus all the marble.

Relaxing in one of the National Gallery of Art’s indoor courtyards, I watch people traipse quietly in and out.  It’s quite busy for a Wednesday in February but then again this is nothing compared to the bus loads of tourists that stampede through these marble halls in the summer.

I came here today to see a new exhibit on the Renaissance sculptors of the Della Robbia family from 16th century Florence.  A small but nice exhibit that evoked a quieter Florence of fruit trees and Madonna’s with children.

What should I do next?  I’ve been to this gallery so many times.  I’ve already visited some of the usual haunts: the Dutch cabinet galleries, that one Simone Martini painting.  I’ve snapped a few pictures of paintings that have rotated in since I was last here.

I could try and and find that one room with the headless Roman statue. I never manage to remember where the room is and I usually end up wandering through the galleries wondering if I just imagined it all; who ever heard of the National Gallery of Art having Roman stuff anyway?

I know I should go see the newly renovated East Wing which houses the gallery’s modern art collection, but I always feel that modern art requires a certain mindset for optimal viewing.  Today I am content with quiet indoor gardens and the sighing breaths of history exhaled from the walls.


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