Tuesday, August 23, 2016

July 25 -- National Gallery of Art, part 2


One thing that really baffled me on this trip is the incessant selfie-taking I observed.  People lined up in front of Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci, to take their pics with Ginevra.

Why?  I totally do not get this.  Taking a pic of Ginevra, I can understand.  But of yourself in front of Ginevra?  Why........?

Some people literally stepped from one painting to the next, taking a pic of themselves in front of each painting.

Baffled.   !

Surely not even one's mother cares about seeing one's face in front of painting after painting after painting................

I suppose -- of all the baffling things people do, at least this one is relatively harmless........................

Moving on.

Lorenzo de' Medici -- Florentine 15th or 16th Century, probably after a model by Andrea del Verrocchio and Orsino Benintendi.  Painted terracotta.

He looks like someone who expects to get his own way, doesn't he? 

The NGA's website says "Lorenzo de’ Medici, the learned, charismatic, and ruthless head of a wealthy banking family, ruled the Italian Renaissance city-state of Florence from 1469 to 1492, in the time of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Botticelli (1446–1510), and the young Michelangelo (1475–1564). The simple costume he wears in this bust, including a distinctively Florentine padded and draped headdress called a cappuccio, reflects Lorenzo’s claim to be merely a respected citizen rather than a de facto prince. Cleaning in recent years has brought out original colors, including bright reds, warm flesh tones, and a light beard. The brooding face suggests the forceful intelligence behind Lorenzo’s power."

The main thing that caught my eye was the hat.  I don't remember seeing a hat like this -- basically a very drapey long tube.  Folded over on top of the head.  This would be a cinch to knit -- aside from stopping the touching-the-shoulder end from rolling like the other end does....  Hmmmm.......

Speaking of funny clothes....   This one made me roll my eyes.  Want to guess who this is?

It purports to be Alexander the Great.  I am snickering at the idea of a serious soldier (and commander) got up like this fripperyfied dandy, even on vacation.  At a costume ball.  But what do I know.  Maybe he would have, if he'd thought of it.

This is 15th century Florentine, again.  Marble, from the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio.

The carving is impressive.  Look at the lace below his neck, as well as at the ribbons and curls......

The National Gallery has multiple "small" garden areas.  They seem small in comparison to the big spaces in this big building, but they're really not small at all.  I am pretty sure our whole house could fit handily in this one.

Someday, when it's not as crowded as it is in July, this would be a pleasant place to sit.

Nice plants in these gardens.............

I love the portraits Holbein did in England..........

This is the one that got me started wondering about provenance.  This is Henry VIII's son.  How on earth did he end up in the USA?

On the other hand -- it's hardly the case that the monarchy passed happily and decorously from one proud relative to the next.  When someone who hardly approves of his predecessors takes the throne, I suppose he feels no compunction to retain their images.  And once the work is out of the hands of governments, all bets are off and things end up in the hands of the high bidder.

As I walked through the gallery, thinking about how rich men own way too much of everything, and make FAR too many decisions about the fate of humanity, I was also thinking about how few women artists are represented in art museums.  (Sigh.......... !!!)

I was happy to spot this -- I thought at once "That is a self-portrait!"  And so it is.

Judith Leyster, Dutch, about 1630.

Another self portrait.  Rembrandt.

Ah, the Dutch and their incredible detail......  Love examining their work.

"A Vase of Flowers," Jan Davidsz. de Heem, about 1645.

A couple of closer looks.  I love the leaf on the wheat stem (top center).....

Isn't it interesting to see plants we easily recognize now?

Another flower pic, about which I failed to capture any id info.  It is similarly detailed..........

Irritated that I didn't think to capture info about this next one!

I believe this is actually an assemblage, rather than a painting.  I surely can't tell from the photograph that it is!  Given the Dutch facility with extreme realistic detail, this could surely be a photograph of a painting..........

But I think it's really an assemblage.  I don't remember seeing assemblages this old before.

Three combs (including one that looks like it's meant for removing nits).

Time for a spot of lunch!  Above my nice salad-by-the-pound in the cafe on the concourse level is a big fountain.  The fountain is outside, and the plants between us and the water are inside, with glass in between.

Here's another look at the fountain.  There are pyramidal skylights scattered over this walkway.  (Which is almost always full of people taking selfies in front of the fountain.  I had to wait attentively to get an unobscured look at the fountain.)

Done with lunch.  Let's get a closer look at the fountain.  Here is the tree-shaped plant near the right edge of the photo above.

Here's a look through the glass at the fountain's beginning, outside.  The water shoots up, then runs down this rippled surface, bouncing and falling down toward us.

The water behind that same tree-shaped plant.

Closeup of a flower.


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