National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art The National Gallery of Art preserves, collects, exhibits, and fosters understanding of works of art at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards. Admission is always free.
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FREE ADMISSION About the Gallery: Masterworks by the most renowned European and American artists, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and the largest mobile ever created by Alexander Calder, await visitors to the National Gallery of Art, one of the world's preeminent art museums. The Gallery’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts traces the development of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. Open to the public free of charge, the Gallery was created for the people of the United States of America by a joint resolution of Congress accepting the gift of Andrew W. Mellon in 1937. The Gallery’s campus includes the original neoclassical West Building designed by John Russell Pope, which is linked underground to the modern East Building designed by I.M. Pei, and the verdant 6.1-acre Sculpture Garden. Temporary special exhibitions spanning the world and the history of art are presented frequently. Learn more about the Gallery at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/about.html Explore the collection at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection.html Browse the Gallery's many free public programs, including tours, lectures, concerts, films, and family programs, at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/calendar.html Learn about the tours available in foreign languages at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/calendar/guided-tours/foreign-language.html Consider the variety of dining options at the National Gallery at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/visit/cafe.html Learn about the Gallery Shops and browse online at https://shop.nga.gov/ Stay up to date on Gallery news and events by subscribing to our free e-mail newsletters at http://subscribe.nga.gov/subscription_form_ngart.cfm Support the Gallery at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/support.html

🌷 We could all use some flowers. So for today’s tour, we’re going outside to explore the grounds and greenhouses on the ...
04/02/2020

🌷 We could all use some flowers. So for today’s tour, we’re going outside to explore the grounds and greenhouses on the Gallery’s campus! While we’re closed, our horticulture team is still working hard to maintain our grounds. Cindy Kaufmann, the Gallery’s chief of horticulture, shared these photos of blooms around the Gallery’s campus from a visit earlier this week.

Floral arrangements have welcomed visitors to the Gallery since our founding in 1941. The design for the West Building by John Russell Pope included gardens as an important element of the museum. The horticulture department’s work is essential to the experience of the Gallery—their special touch provides a quiet respite in the East and West Garden Courts, a stunning seasonal floral display around the Rotunda, and a beautiful landscape to explore in the Sculpture Garden.

Learn more about the Gallery’s horticulture department by watching this 2017 lecture with Cindy Kaufmann: go.usa.gov/xvYag and follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery.

04/01/2020
Franklin Kelly Discusses Sir Edwin Landseer's Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler” (1820)

For today’s tour we’re heading to gallery 57 on the Main Floor of the West Building and taking a closer look at “Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler” (1820) by Sir Edwin Landseer. Learn more about the recent acquisition with Franklin Kelly, the Gallery’s chief curator.

Follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. These videos were filmed during the final days before the Gallery closed. If you're having trouble hearing the audio, closed captions are available.

Sir Edwin Landseer, “Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler,” 1820, oil on canvas, overall: 189 × 237 cm (74 7/16 × 93 5/16 in.), Patrons' Permanent Fund, National Gallery of Art, Washington

In honor of the last day of Women’s History Month, today we take a closer look at two works by a women photographer and ...
03/31/2020

In honor of the last day of Women’s History Month, today we take a closer look at two works by a women photographer and printmaker on view in the East Building gallery 106A.

The gallery looks at how the soaring skyscrapers, massive steel bridges, and the increasing hustle and bustle of city streets captivated artists working in the first half of the 20th century. Photographers like Berenice Abbott captured off-kilter views that conveyed both the grandeur and commotion of the modern metropolis. Printmakers like Jolán Gross-Bettelheim experimented with dramatically cropped compositions and viewpoints as well as the textures and tonal effects of different techniques like lithography to represent the urban environment.

Follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery.

Jolán Gross-Bettelheim, “Bowery,” c. 1938, lithograph in black on wove paper, image: 35 × 23 cm (13 3/4 × 9 1/16 in.), Reba and Dave Williams Collection, Florian Carr Fund and Gift of the Print Research Foundation, National Gallery of Art, Washington; Berenice Abbott, “Canyon, Broadway and Exchange Place,” 1936, gelatin silver print, sheet (trimmed to image): 23.7 x 19.1 cm (9 5/16 x 7 1/2 in.), The Marvin Breckinridge Patterson Fund for Photography, National Gallery of Art, Washington

From the Gallery’s director, Kaywin Feldman:This is a moment unlike any other in modern history. Around the world, museu...
03/31/2020

From the Gallery’s director, Kaywin Feldman:

This is a moment unlike any other in modern history. Around the world, museums, libraries, and theaters are closing to the public to protect the health and safety of our communities. The National Gallery of Art is no exception. We have temporarily closed our doors to staff and visitors until further notice. All of us at the Gallery will do our part to flatten the curve for our fellow citizens and health care heroes.

Amid this upheaval, I am thinking deeply about what is essential. Of course, at the very top of the list are the health and safety of Gallery staff, contractors, and volunteers, but not far behind are continuity, a connection with our past, and optimism for the future. Throughout history, we have endured many crises and persevered. Some of the world’s greatest art was created during those times, and many examples, which testify to the endurance of the human spirit, are found within our walls. This is why the Gallery is making efforts to bring our collections and programs to our audiences around the world.

The Gallery has expanded the content we offer across our digital platforms. We hope this list of ten digital education resources will support parents and their children, teachers, students, and caregivers in their new roles at home: go.usa.gov/xvC3C. Our social media channels offer daily gallery tours the collection, which allow for a visit to the Gallery from anywhere, at any time. And please consider signing up for our e-newsletter, which will now offer weekly updates and curated recommendations for engaging with our collection and programs: bit.ly/2xBnENO.

For me, art is essential, as it is the expression of what it means to be human. In experiencing art and creativity, we feel the power of our shared humanity, and empathize with one another as well as those who came before us. I hope you will continue to virtually visit the Gallery and find tangible inspiration and comfort. The words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, spoken at the Gallery’s dedication in March 1941, in the midst of World War II, have never been truer:

“The dedication of this Gallery to a living past, and to a greater and more richly living future, is the measure of the earnestness of our intention: that the freedom of the human spirit shall go on.”

In celebration of Vincent van Gogh’s birthday, for today’s tour we’re taking a closer look at his paintings in gallery 8...
03/30/2020

In celebration of Vincent van Gogh’s birthday, for today’s tour we’re taking a closer look at his paintings in gallery 83 on the Main Floor of the West Building.

In May of 1890, Van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, where he stayed until his death. The artist wrote of his return to northern France as a kind of homecoming, a peaceful restoration of his mental state in which the vibrant, hot colors of the south were replaced by cool, gentle hues in green and blue. He was very active during his time in Auvers, making about 70 paintings—more than one per day—and many drawings.

“Green Wheat Fields, Auvers” is one of the works Van Gogh painted during his final months in Auvers. The “pure” landscape shows the rolling fields and cloudy sky in a rich range of greens and blues, punctuated by outbursts of yellow flowers.

Take a closer look at the painting: go.usa.gov/xvaaw and follow along each day as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery.

Vincent van Gogh, “Green Wheat Fields, Auvers,” 1890, oil on canvas, 72.39 × 91.44 cm (28 1/2 × 36 in.), Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Today we’re wishing an early 274th birthday to Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, born on March 30, 1746 with a look at...
03/29/2020

Today we’re wishing an early 274th birthday to Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, born on March 30, 1746 with a look at two of the artist’s portraits from gallery 52. While Goya found success as a portraitist of the Spanish elite and served as court painter to King Charles III and IV, some of his paintings suggest that he may have supported the Napoleonic invasion of Spain.

His pendant portraits of “Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol” and “Thérèse Louise de Sureda” (c. 1803/1804) show the artist’s friend Bartolomé Sureda and his new French wife. Following three years spent in France studying the manufacture of textiles and porcelain, Sureda returned to Spain in 1803 married to Thérèse Louise Chapronde Saint Amand. Goya depicts both in French fashions—Sureda with the disheveled hair and clothing of revolutionary France and Thérèse Louise with an empire style dress and chair. Goya may have belonged to the same group of liberal intellectuals as Sureda. Either way, Goya swore an oath of loyalty in 1808 to the new king, Joseph Bonaparte, and painted portraits of the French community in Madrid that had replaced his previous patrons.

Follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery.

Francisco de Goya, “Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol” and “Thérèse Louise de Sureda,” c. 1803/1804, oil on canvas, 119.7 x 79.3 cm (47 1/8 x 31 1/4 in.), Gift of Mr. and Mrs. P.H.B. Frelinghuysen in memory of her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, National Gallery of Art, Washington

For today’s tour, we’re heading to “Degas at the Opéra.” Organized with the Musée d'Orsay, the exhibition explores how t...
03/28/2020

For today’s tour, we’re heading to “Degas at the Opéra.” Organized with the Musée d'Orsay, the exhibition explores how the Paris Opéra inspired Degas.

“Portrait of Eugénie Fiocre a propos of the Ballet ‘La Source’" (1867-1868) is the artist’s earliest work associated with the Opéra. The painting was inspired by “La Source,” or “The Spring,” a ballet that debuted at the Opéra in November 1866 and starred the ballerina, Eugénie Fiocre. Looking at the painting though, it’s not apparent that it is a portrait of a dancer—no one is shown dancing. The only indication that it depicts the ballet are the pale pink slippers seen between the horse’s legs.

Follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. Read more about “Degas at the Opéra:” go.usa.gov/xvcwf

Edgar Degas, “Portrait of Eugénie Fiocre a propos of the Ballet ‘La Source’”, 1867–1868, oil on canvas, 130 x 144 cm (51 3/16 x 56 11/16 in.), Brooklyn Museum, Gift of James H. Post, A. Augustus Healy, and John T. Underwood, 1921, 21.111

03/27/2020
Betsy Wieseman Discusses "Andries Stilte as a Standard Bearer"

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 46, home to one of the sassiest subjects you’ll see on the Gallery’s walls—Andries Stilte. Listen to Betsy Wieseman, curator and head of the Gallery's department of northern European paintings, discuss Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck’s portrait, “Andries Stilte as a Standard Bearer” (1640).

Follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. These videos were filmed during the final days before the Gallery closed. If you're having trouble hearing the audio, closed captions are available.

For today’s tour, we travel to Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries through an example of one of the works in gallery 3...
03/26/2020

For today’s tour, we travel to Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries through an example of one of the works in gallery 35 on the Main Floor of the West Building. Gallery 35 includes examples by some of the most significant artists of the period, including Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Hans Holbein.

All found great success during their lives, working in courts throughout Europe. Lucas Cranach the Elder served Friedrich the Wise, Elector of Saxony, as well as his successors Johann the Steadfast and Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous. Friedrich the Wise even granted Cranach his own coat-of-arms to use to sign his paintings (seen to the right of the inscription on the top left corner).

Cranach made “The Nymph of the Spring,” sometime after 1537. The inscription on the top left reads, “ I am the nymph of the sacred spring, do not disturb my sleep. I am resting.” Seen together, the inscription and her setting alongside a spring may allude to an ancient Roman fountain with which a Latin verse (later discovered to be from the 15th century) was associated.

But is the nymph actually sleeping? Other details, like the bow and quiver hanging in the tree (associating her with the goddess Diana) and the German court lady’s robe she rests her head on give the painting a moralizing twist. Cranach may have been warning the viewer to resist lust and amorality.

Follow along each day during our temporary closure as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, “The Nymph of the Spring,” after 1537, oil on panel, 48.4 x 72.8 cm (19 1/16 x 28 11/16 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Clarence Y. Palitz

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 56 on the Main Floor of the West Building, which features paintings by Élisabeth Louise...
03/26/2020

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 56 on the Main Floor of the West Building, which features paintings by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. Part of the aristocracy herself, the artist is best known for portraits of Marie Antoinette made in the years leading up to the French Revolution.

In her paintings of smiling mothers and elegant women, Vigée Le Brun attempted to mask and distract from the growing tensions of the day. However, a closer look at works like “Madame d'Aguesseau de Fresnes” reveals the influence of contemporary politics on her fashionable portraits. The woman’s understated white dress evoked the styles of ancient Greece and Rome, while the turban-inspired hat signaled the Enlightenment’s acceptance of non-western ideas. The prominent Wedgewood cameo at her sash referenced British imports and the country’s parliamentary monarchy, a potential model for France.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun painted this work in 1789, the same year she fled France due to her close ties to the royal family. Her notoriety continued after the fall of the monarchy and the artist spent several years traveling between the courts of Italy, Austria, Russian, and Germany before returning to France.

Follow along as we take you on a tour of our galleries each day during our temporary closure.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, “Madame d'Aguesseau de Fresnes,” 1789, oil on wood, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 14, tucked away in a corner of the West Building’s Main Floor. Alison Luchs, the Galler...
03/24/2020

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 14, tucked away in a corner of the West Building’s Main Floor. Alison Luchs, the Gallery’s Curator of Early European Sculpture and Deputy Head of Sculpture, highlighted some of the 16th-century Italian sculptures displayed in the gallery’s cases.

These small bronze sculptures, which would have sat on tables and shelves in homes, were enjoyed for their inventive designs, skillful execution, and messages. Figures of a half human, half goat satyr often supported inkwells, oil lamps, or holders for quill pens for accountants or scholars while sculptures of a double-tailed mermaid may have served to remind writers of the persuasive words of sirens, mythical sea creatures who lured sailors to their doom. What do you keep on your desk as inspiration?

Explore more of the Gallery’s collection of decorative arts here: go.usa.gov/xdhCW and follow along as we take you on a tour of our galleries each day during our temporary closure.

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 103C which focuses on the work of Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, two members of t...
03/23/2020

Today’s tour takes us to gallery 103C which focuses on the work of Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard, two members of the brief but influential Nabis movement. The group was formed in Paris in 1890 by a group of like-minded art students that called themselves “Les Nabis.” Inspired by the colors of Paul Gauguin, the flat patterning of Japanese prints, and the poetic ideas of the symbolists, “Les Nabis” shared an interest in pushing painting to new levels of abstraction, decoration, and expression. Édouard Vuillard painted this self-portrait at the age of 21, in the midst of the movement.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Learn more about “Les Nabis” and watch a 2018 lecture by David Gariff: go.usa.gov/xdS4D

Édouard Vuillard, “Self-Portrait, Aged 21,” 1889, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

03/22/2020
Introduction to "Lynda Benglis" by Molly Donovan

Today would have been the opening day for our exhibition of the work of the pioneering artist, Lynda Benglis. While the Gallery is closed, we’re still going to “open” the exhibition to you by sharing an introduction we filmed with Molly Donovan, curator of contemporary art, before the Gallery closed.

In the late 1960s, Lynda Benglis expanded the boundaries traditionally assigned to media and gender with bold, physical, and tactile works. Since then, Benglis's endless innovation has made her a critical figure who has bridged and influenced several generations of artists. The Gallery is fortunate to have the largest public collection of Benglis’s work, in large part due to gifts by Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, collectors of her work since they first met the artist in 1966.

We hope you can visit the exhibition once we are reopened—it will be on view through January 24, 2021. In the meantime, follow along as we take you on a tour of our galleries each day during our temporary closure.

For today’s tour, we visit gallery 31 on the Main Floor of the West Building which features examples of 17th and 18th It...
03/21/2020

For today’s tour, we visit gallery 31 on the Main Floor of the West Building which features examples of 17th and 18th Italian painting including two of Canaletto’s landscape paintings of Venice painted around 1742/1744.

Canaletto was born Giovanni Antonio Canal on October 17 or 18, 1697 in Venice. From a young age, he is believed to have assisted his father, a painter of theatrical scenery and a view painter. In the 1720’s, the artist established an independent career as a “pittor di vedute,” or view painter, and adopted the diminutive Canaletto (the little Canal) to distinguish his work from his father's.

The period between 1730 and 1742 was the most productive of Canaletto's career. He made almost all the paintings of Venice, for which he is best known, during this period. In his paintings, the artist aimed to present an accurate and detailed record of a particular scene. He achieved that by capturing the light, the life, the buildings, and the expanse of Venice with an unparalleled perception and luminosity that established his reputation as one of the greatest topographical painters of all time.

Each day during our temporary closure, join us as we take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. Learn more about Italian art from this period in the Gallery’s publication “Italian Paintings of the 17th and 18th Centuries,” one of several free backlist titles available on nga.gov: bit.ly/2WAENl1

Canaletto, The Square of Saint Mark's, Venice, 1742/1744, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mrs. Barbara Hutton

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