The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. is one of the greatest art museums in America. It showcases fascinating works of sculpture, painting, decorative arts, and also works on paper that are from the 13th century. Located on the National Mall, this museum remains open to the public free of charge and was established in the year 1937. The core collection of this museum has some of the major works of art that are donated by Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Paul Mellon, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Rush Harrison Kress, Samuel Henry Kress, Peter Arrell Brown Widener, Chester Dale, and Joseph E. Widener.
Andrew W. Mellon is the person who donated funds for the construction and a considerable art collection of the museum. All the paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, medals, sculpture, and decorative arts tells the story of Western art development from the Middle Ages until present. This includes the only painting made by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and the Alexander Calder’s major mobile, which has ever been created. The campus of Gallery is consists of the original neoclassical West Building, which was designed by John Russell Pope.
This designed is connected underground to the modern East Building, which is designed by I.M. Pei.
The gallery also includes the 6.1-acre Sculpture Garden. You will get temporary special exhibitions that are conducted from across the world. In fact, you can explore the history of art that are presented regularly. As mentioned earlier, the museum has total two buildings – The West Building and the East Building that are linked by an underground passage. These two buildings together consist of National Gallery of Art. The West Building is composed of pink Tennessee marble, which was designed by architect John Russell Pope in the year 1937. This design features a neoclassical style. You can see the extensive collection of paintings from European masters that are kept in the West Building. These collections are dating from the medieval period through the late 19th century. You can also see the works done by American artists from pre-20th century.
Some of the highlights of the collections displayed in the museum include many different paintings that are made by Jan Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent Van Gogh, and Claude Monet. Well, the design made by the architect I.M. Pei of the East Building is meticulously geometrical in shape. Seems like two triangles – one isosceles and the other a smaller right triangle. The space of the isosceles triangle is used for the public functions, whereas, the space defined by the right triangle is today a large study center. The most spectacular feature of this building is its high atrium, which is designed as an open interior court. The sculptural space frame spanning 16,000 square feet surrounds this high atrium.
Some of the collections of the National Gallery of Art that houses one of the finest collections in the world includes European and American paintings, works on paper, sculpture, decorative arts, and photographs, which can be found in the collection galleries and the Sculpture Garden. Until now, the strongest collection of paintings include – Italian Renaissance collection, which is comprised of two panels from Duccio’s Maesta; Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi’s great tondo of the Adoration of the Magi; a Botticelli on similar subject; Bellini’s The Feast of the Gods; Giorgione’s Allendale Nativity; significant groups of works done by Raphael and Titian; and the only Leonardo painting in the Americas.
Besides this, the other European collections in the Museum consist of many great masters of western painting, like Cranach the Elder, Grunewald, Durer, Van der Weyden, Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, Ingres, Goya, and Delacroix. Still, you can experience many other collections of sculpture and decorative arts, which are truly fascinating. The museum remains open from Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm. During Sundays, it remains open from 11am to 6pm and remains closed on 25 December and 1 January.