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Last day on the Mall--for now

Yesterday, the kids and I met our out-of-town friends on the National Mall for our final day of exploration together. We didn't have as long this time (as they were headed home in the late afternoon), so we spent most of the time in the National Gallery of Art's East and West buildings.

In the West building (which has become my most favorite place in Washintgon, D.C.), we were surprised by Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper (above) as we exited an elevator and delighted by Leonardo Da Vinci's Portrait of Ginevra de'Benci (below). At one point, I sat with my five-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter in front of The Adoration of the Magi and we discussed how the painting differed from the biblical story, but how the image also got at some of the important aspects of the story. Sheesh, art is a blessing.

Over at the East building, we browsed the wide and airy halls of contemporary art. . .


. . . where we saw the works of Picasso . . .


. . . Georgia O'Keefe (which my daughter absolutely loved) . . .

. . . Richter (from which my son listed a litany of all the colors he could see) . . .

. . . and Andy Warhol (heh, at which both my kids stared and wondered aloud why he chose to feature pictures of the cans they see in their mother's pantry).

I must admit, I'm much more enamored of the West building with it's Van Goghs, Monets and Rembrandts than the East and its contemporary artists. I've never lived near a museum that held so much from so many masters. I can still feel the overwhelming awe of walking through one room after another, standing only feet away from so many paintings that I'd only seen in books, on cards or online. There is something about a gifted artist, so that the images they create (as Van Gogh has said) "disentangle its intimate character, and so that it’s not something vaguely true, but the true soil. . . ." I could get lost in those images.

(Images: all but the da Vinci painting are copyrighted; these are my photos of those copyrighted art pieces as they appeared in the museums and posted here under fair use)

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