Whether you’re visiting DC as a tourist or if you’re a long-term DC resident, it’s always fun to find something new to explore.
Especially if you’re a fan of the arts, DC is your ideal city.
One of the best places for art lovers to visit is the National Gallery of Art, which always has a plethora of exciting permanent and temporary exhibits.
However, it’s no secret that the gallery’s enormous size can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming! So, which pieces of famous art should you make sure you see on your visit? What else do you need to know about the museum and the artists whose works are displayed there?
Read on to find out.
Visiting the National Gallery of Art Exhibits
The National Gallery of Art in DC is home to some of the greatest works of art in the world.
Opening hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sundays from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Best of all?
You can see this famous art for free, as there is no charge for admission to the museum.
For directions on how best to reach the gallery, visit this page on the museum’s website.
The National Gallery was developed and donated by Andrew Mellow, the famous businessman who also had a deep love and appreciation for all elements of art. In 1936, Mellon contacted President Franklin D. Roosevelt and stated his intention to donate his personal art collection to the museum, for the public to enjoy.
The rest, as they say, is history!
Now, let’s take a look at some of the famous listed artists whose works you simply can’t miss when you’re visiting DC.
Leonardo da Vinci
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the chance to view Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces is one of the biggest reasons why people visit the National Gallery.
Celebrated as perhaps the world’s greatest “Rennaisance Man,” he is likely best known for painting the Mona Lisa (on display at the Louvre in Paris) and The Last Supper.
Da Vinci was also a prolific inventor, engineer, and scientist.
The National Gallery of DC is the only place in the United States where one of Da Vinci’s paintings is on public view.
Make sure to visit the 15-century portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci in Gallery 79.
Vincent van Gogh
The museum also provides visitors with the opportunity to see famous art by the celebrated Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh.
(Yes, that’s the painter who cut off his ear.)
While Van Gogh never received recognition for his art during his lifetime, today he is especially loved for his paintings The Starry Night and his still life Sunflowers. He gravitated towards painting scenes of nature, and his somewhat chaotic brushstrokes are instantly recognizable.
When visiting the Gallery, you can see his paintings Roulin’s baby, La Mousmé, and most famous of all, Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait. To view the Van Gogh paintings, visit Gallery 83.
If you’re visiting the National Gallery of Art exhibits, we know you want to be certain you take the time to see the works by Pablo Picasso.
The father of cubism and abstract art (kids especially will love his work) Picasso is unmatched in his approach to painting. He was also heavily influenced by surrealism and was known especially for the sheer volume of paintings he was able to create in his lifetime.
Luckily, you’ll have the chance to check out numerous works by Pablo Picasso during your visit to the gallery.
Be sure to see Le gourmet, The Tragedy, Lady With a Fan, and one of the most celebrated of his paintings, Nude Woman (a true representation of his cubist style at its finest).
When discussing famous art, one must mention Renoir.
This celebrated French impressionist painter and the father of the famous cineaste Jean Renoir.
He is perhaps best known for his portraits of women, and he broke the mold by daring to show the more sensual side of his subjects. He loved painting scenes of Paris, and perhaps his best-known painting is Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette.
Visit Gallery 90, which is home to numerous Renoir paintings, including his famous portrait of Diana.
Finally, no visit to the National Gallery is complete without taking the time to see the extraordinary paintings by the beloved Father of French Impressionism, Claude Monet.
Monet famously created stunning paintings out of little more than sharp brushstrokes. While the paintings are beautiful from far away, they look nearly unrecognizable when you view them closely.
He also celebrated en Plein-air paintings, meaning that he often painted outside, preferring to be in nature and drawing what was in front of him.
He’s especially known for his paintings of water lilies and of a bridge over a pond.
You’ll have the chance to see numerous Monet paintings in Galleries 86 and 87 at the museum, including Sainte-Adresse, The Bridge at Argenteuil, and Interior After Dinner.
Ready to See the National Gallery’s Famous Art for Yourself?
We hope that this guide to the most famous art and artists on view at the National Gallery of Art in DC has you feeling more than prepared for your visit.
Perhaps you’re visiting DC for the first time and looking for some of the attractions you simply can’t miss. Maybe you’re thinking of moving to DC, and want to learn more about what you can expect out of life there.
In some cases, you may even be relocating to DC for a new job opportunity.
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