A friend came to town from Hawaii – luckily she stayed in a hotel so I didn't have to work like a maniac to make our house guest-friendly. She was also feeling a little cold so on Saturday we did an indoor activity - The National Portrait Gallery:
This building is a National Historic Landmark and is an example of Greek Revival architecture. Construction began in 1836 and was completed 1868 – it was one of the first public buildings built in early Washington. Porticos are modeled after the Parthenon in Athens, there is a curving double staircase, colonnades and vaulted galleries. It is joined to The Smithsonian American Art Museum and at times it is difficult to know when you've left one and entered the other. The two buildings surround the Kogod Courtyard with its glass covered canopy:
Theodore Roosevelt had this Steinway "Gold Grand" designed to match the newly renovated White House in 1903. It is adorned with the original 13 State seals and is gilt in goldleaf. Artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing painted the lid and titled it "America Receiving the Nine Muses" :
I didn't take a photo of this actual portrait but I found the description really amusing (and yes, she looked tired):
I loved Strong Woman and Child 1925 – Yasuo Kuniyoshi: perhaps this is Mrs Green in comic guise:
I also liked this which I think was titled The Library - I failed to note either the name or the artist.
This one had a gorgeous colour co-ordinating frame – but reading the fine print revealed it was recreated rather than a restored frame:
There was a special exhibition of Presidential cover art Time magazine – no photos allowed past this point.
There is a large area dedicated to portraits of all the Presidents - the Nation's only complete collection of Presidential portraits outside the White House. This is the one I found most interesting. Apparently quite a few of you may have had a portion of this portrait in your schools and wondered why George had clouds around his shoulder:
The Adams Memorial was fascinating. Some weekend I intend to look for Clover's gravesite at Rock Creek churchyard where the original sculpture was erected in 1891. Augustus Saint-Gaudens called it "The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding" The public called it "Grief".
Here is a collection of some of my favourites (click on any one a couple of times to make it larger). I think I've just realised that I need a Part IB post to complete my trip to the museum. And, that's before I even mention that I went to the Chinese New Year Parade held in DC today which was going to be Part 2 of my cultural w/end!