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I might have mentioned (just possibly -- once or twice) that last year M and I moved from Virginia back to the land of our forebears. No, not England, Scotland, Wales, Germany or France. Texas. And, although I had my doubts at first (and although I really do love Virginia and enjoyed all my years there), I haven't regretted moving at all. I'm loving the weather and the new house and all these wide open spaces. And it's been wonderful to reconnect with family and old friends, and revisit the haunts of my youth. We're both having a great time and haven't really looked back. Much.
But I have to confess -- I do miss the museums. I've been trying to organize some of the photos I took during the last year or so, in preparation for a scrapbooking project I have in mind (more about that in a later post), and I found bunches of shots I took on our last couple of trips to the National Gallery in Washington DC. And it's made me a little sad that I can't just run out, hop on the Metro, and spend the day browsing the Smithsonian museums.
Not that Texas doesn't have great art museums -- we do. But ain't nothin' can equal those magnificent collections in DC.
Just get on with it!!!! (I hear you saying.)
OK. Here are a few shots that caught my eye as I organized. Pretty paintings. Lots of blue here. (Click on images to enlarge.)
This has always been one of my favorite paintings -- Edouard Manet's The Railway (or The Gare Saint-Lazare), painted in 1873. When I was a little girl, I soooo wanted that white dress with the big blue sash. And now that I'm older, it's still one of my favorites -- I "collect" pictures of women with books, and this is one of the finest.
I also LOVE that doggy asleep in her lap.
Another painting that I've always found interesting is Jan Gossaert's Madonna and Child (ca. 1532) -- mainly, I think, because it has one of the most hideous infants in the history of art! But it's another one of my "women with books" paintings (the Virgin is frequently pictured reading, of course), and I love the swirling blue fabric of her gown. Sort of electric, isn't it?
But this time, I was mostly impressed with her footwear -- had never noticed those tres chic sandals before!
Even though I've been to the National Gallery many times, I always find something new with each visit. Last time, one of my discoveries was this Family Portrait by Francois Hubert Drouais (painted 1756 -- sorry about the angle, but it was hung very high up on the wall). Lots going on here.
Lovely little girl. Notice that her mother is adorning her (powdered!) hair with a crown of tiny blue flowers,
and that she's dressed in a very adult style. Hard to believe, but in the 18th Century, children (both boys and girls, apparently) were expected to wear corsets (or stays) -- supposedly to help their bodies develop properly and encourage good posture (see a photo of children's stays here). Imagine engaging in a brisk game of tag or climbing a tree in this get-up. But it is a lovely shade of blue.