Monday, March 09, 2009

National Gallery of Art

We make a visit to the National Gallery two or three times a year. Saturday after a brief visit to the American History Museum, we headed over there for my must have encounter with the Van Gogh portrait in the collection. I always get weepy, it is always an emotional experience. I have talked about this is the past. For me, considering his life, his letters and his struggles I feel all the more connected to the work. It wasn't until about twenty years after his death that people began to take notice of his work and now, could he even imagine where his paintings might be and that one portrait could deeply effect one woman in Washington D.C.? I managed to compose myself in this photo taken a few years ago.

I was focused on seeing Mark Rothko's paintings, so we made our way to the east building which houses the modern art collection. I have never felt greatly connected to modern art. And as a matter of fact, walking into the gallery, immediately I was struck by the coldness if the atmosphere. There is even a weird undercurrent of "horror", if I may use that word. I find most modern art void of humanity and beauty which is really important to me as a painter and viewer (hey, and as a human.) But last year, I sat and looked at one of Rothko's paintings and remember being quite moved. I wanted to sit and look again, though this is a different painting than the one on display last year. Maybe I am beginning to "get it." It may help to acquaint myself with his story.


I want to mention Thomas Cole's "Voyage of Life" series beautifully displayed in the west building complete with the artist's statements about each massive painting. They are numbers 10 through 13 here. Really beautiful and moving works.

So, a great day in our capital and off to Trader Joe's on the way home. Yee-ha.

No comments: