Marchesa Balbi; Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1623
If I learned anything from my trip back East, I know now that I could spend days in the National Gallery of Art, maybe even a week. Just standing in a building with that many amazing paintings just about blew my mind, and I am saddened that we only had an afternoon to spend there. Frankly, I thought the art gallery was much more awe-inspiring than the memorials (except Jefferson’s, of course). The sheer amount of history in the building was mind-boggling.
Catherine Howard; Sir Anthony Van Dyck, 1638
As interesting as the impressionists are (more to come on them later), I am discovering that my taste in art runs much more toward the Renaissance. Especially the Northern Renaissance– Albrecht Durer pwns at life. At the NGA, I was introduced to Anthony Van Dyck, who painted some freaking amazing portraits.
Portrait of a Youth; Sandro Botticelli, 1482
Botticelli is one of my new favorites–especially his portraits. The Birth of Venus is all well and good, but the Youth doesn’t even compare. In person, his eyes, I can’t even describe them. This is why I am not an art history major. I would just stand in front of a painting saying “Look at it! How could I describe this in words? It speaks for itself! QED, degree please.”
The Annunciation; Jan Van Eyck, 1434
There is a painting that I’m not sure whether or not I like, yet I cannot stop thinking about: Jan Van Eyck’s The Annunciation. The Angel’s face freaks me totally and completely out, but the colors on the wings are incredible, and that pattern of dots is intriguing (it reminds me a bit of the cherubim in Madeleine L’Engle’s novels). The construction of Mary’s dress is fascinating, and the sheer amount of work that went into the Angel’s robe, and how that dedication shows when you look at it.
Sometimes I don’t really ~get~ the concept of inspiration in clothes, but I could base an entire wardrobe off this painting. So I suppose something from the fashion world has trickled down to my little brain.
When I am old and rich (hah!), I will have my walls hung with portraits of possibly dead people I never will have met.
Photo sources: Lee Sandstead & NGA.