Take a look at Glenn Ligon's "Double America," a work in neon and paint from 2012. Here, two neons are put together. Some letters are flipped, but not all are backwards. The artist references Caspar David Friedrich’s "Rückenfigur" paintings, or “back-figure” paintings. In these German romantic works, figures in the landscape have their backs to the viewer, contemplating an idealist landscape....
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National Gallery of Art
01/20/2017 at 17:30. Facebook
When he left Dublin in 1793, Gilbert Stuart’s ambition was to paint the first president of the United States. By 1821, he had painted the first five presidents of the United States. The Gibbs-Coolidge paintings are the only surviving complete set of portraits depicting the first five presidents. Commissioned by Colonel George Gibbs of Rhode Island, this group was painted in Boston during the...
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National Gallery of Art
01/19/2017 at 17:05. Facebook
The National Gallery of Art will be closed on Friday, January 20, due to Inauguration Day events. We look forward to seeing you when we reopen to the public on Saturday, January 21 at 10:00am.

More on visiting the Gallery: [ Go.usa.gov Link ].
National Gallery of Art
01/18/2017 at 16:41. Facebook
Let your eye wander over "Mounted Trumpeters of Napoleon's Imperial Guard." What is the first word that comes to mind?

The painting's composition is based upon strong visual contrasts. The artist used short, rapid brushstrokes to define the central figures in the foreground. To contrast, we see broader, more sweeping strokes used to create a neutral background. He further distinguished the...
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National Gallery of Art
01/17/2017 at 16:41. Facebook
"Washerwomen on the Banks of the Durance," painted in 1866, shows a group of local washerwomen, wrapped against the heat of the sun, at work on the riverbank. In this austere composition, we see a broad sweep of the Durance as it rounds a bend. A brilliant blue sky dominates the scene, with the edge of the Lubéron mountain range at left. But the true subjects in Paul Guigou's work are the...
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National Gallery of Art
01/16/2017 at 17:25. Facebook
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, take a look at this etched portrait of Dr. King. What do you notice?

This work was generously donated to the National Gallery of Art last year by artist John Wilson’s family in honor of President Barack Obama. John Wilson was 92 when he passed away in 2015, after a long career exploring social and political themes in art. He was not only a great printmaker, but...
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National Gallery of Art
01/15/2017 at 16:53. Facebook
Examine Barnett Newman's "Achilles," painted in 1952. A broad swath of brilliant red paint sweeps down the center of the canvas and ends in an irregular, jagged edge. Notice the exterior straight-edged bands of blackish-brown color. Newman painted these after the red, rendering them uniform and opaque. Intensely radiant, the hot red tonality contrasts sharply with the dark perimeter and seems...
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Berthe Morisot was born on this day in 1841. To celebrate, take a "walk" through the French galleries in our West Building to see works by one of the original members of the impressionists. Like many of her contemporaries, Morisot portrayed a wide range of subjects, including seascapes, landscapes, intimate interior scenes, and portraits. These four paintings, currently on view at the Gallery,...
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We're channeling warmth in Washington, D.C. with this work by Charles Sheeler. What catches your eye? Sheeler was particularly attached to this stove, photographed in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which he called his "companion."

Charles Sheeler, "Doylestown House--The Stove," 1917, gelatin silver print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Pepita Milmore Memorial Fund
Happy birthday to Simon Vouet, born on this day in 1590 in Paris. This work by Louis XIII’s court painter is the earliest and the only signed and dated version of his great series devoted to the Virgin and Child. In "Madonna and Child," Vouet creates a monumental image of the Virgin with her son on her lap. At the same time, the artist captures a sense of immediacy and intimacy between the two...
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What catches your eye in this work of art; is it the light? Notice how the artist contrasts different kinds of light—playing off, for example, the softly-filtered light coming through the gauzy curtains, with that same light then reflected off the polished wood floor. The artist, Edmund Charles Tarbell, also contrasts shapes. He sets the geometric forms of the tall French windows, the picture...
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Take a careful look at George Henry Durrie's "Winter in the Country," painted c. 1858. In this work, we see a stone wall spread across the foreground; the trees at the left are spindly. A lone traveler approaches the homestead over the shadowed snow, with a market basket on one arm and a full sack across his shoulder. Durrie, ever mindful of the details that help to make his images comforting...
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Sir Brian Tuke served as Master of the Posts during Henry VIII's regime, establishing England's postal service. This portrait shows Tuke at the age of 57. What one word would you use to describe the sitter?

This picture exemplifies the qualities often praised in Hans Holbein the Younger's work. We see a precise observation of detail, as well as an impartial, accurate portrayal of Tuke's face....
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Joan Miró moved from Barcelona to Paris in 1920. He remained deeply attached to his native Catalonia. Miró returned each summer to his family's farm in the village of Montroig. In 1921, he determined to make a painting of this farm, a painting that he came to regard as one of the key works in his career.

"The Farm" represents an amalgamation of intense realism with the formal vocabulary of...
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Take a look at "Lady Caroline Howard," painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1778. In this portrait, Lady Caroline is seven years old. Lady Caroline's father affectionately described his daughter as a determined, strong-minded child. He wrote that she was "always a great favourite." Reynolds captured some of Lady Caroline's complexity in the serious, intent expression of her face, her averted...
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In 1907–1908, John Singer Sargent declared that he was "shutting up shop in the portrait line" to focus on landscapes, informal figure studies, and mural paintings. Let your eye wander over "Simplon Pass," painted in 1911. What is the first color or texture you notice?

The artist undertook his landscape and figure paintings on leisure visits to picturesque locales. Here, he depicts a great...
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Happy New Year! We hope you enjoy a bright and prosperous 2017.

The Gallery is closed today, but will reopen to the public tomorrow, Monday, January 2 at 10:00am. We hope to see you!

Jan Steen, "The Dancing Couple," 1663, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Widener Collection
On this eve of a new year, we're grateful for all of our visitors—near and far. How will you spend New Year's Eve?

The Gallery will be closed tomorrow, January 1, but will reopen to the public on Monday, January 2 at 10:00am. We hope to see you in 2017!

Albert Abramovitz, "New Year's Eve," c. 1939, wood engraving, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Reba and Dave Williams Collection, Gift...
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From a distance of 10 feet or so, Claude Monet's brushstrokes blend together in this work of art. They yield a convincing view of the Seine and the boats that drew tourists to Argenteuil. But up close, each dab of paint is distinct. The scene dissolves into a mosaic of paint: brilliant, unblended tones of blue, red, green, yellow. In the water, quick, fluid skips of the brush mimic the lapping...
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Take a careful look at El Greco's "Saint Ildefonso." The artist represents the saint in a richly decorated room. He is seated at a writing table furnished with costly silver objects. An otherworldly aura pervades the room; as the saint pauses in his writing, he gazes attentively at the source of his inspiration, a statuette of the Madonna.

El Greco's image of the Virgin resembles an actual...
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