Last week, my host parents and I went to Washington D.C. to enjoy our spring break. We spent the entire week there, discovering not only the unique traits of a big city, but also its remarkable historical culture.
We visited a lot of landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Museums, and the U.S. Capitol Building. As an art enthusiast, the National Gallery of Art was the one place that I wanted to see more than anything else, especially when I heard of a current display of the work by Italian sculptor Luca Della Robbia, who is noted for his colorful, tin-glazed terracotta statuary that he invented.
The moment we walked into the gallery’s rotunda that has a dozen huge columns around it, I was amazed by the large elaborate fountain with a grand bronze sculpture on the top surrounded by white hydrangea and luxurious green ferns. The rotunda was the middle point of the second floor. The exhibits were shown as the visitors walk from the rotunda to the west and east.
I have been blessed to see other art galleries, and just like people, galleries are all very different. In France, the Louvre is very gilded in decor, complex and narrow. It represents the far-reaching European history. On the contrary, the National Gallery of Art is simple and chic, representing American style and culture. This was so evident as I walked the hallway to the west. I saw simple, clean columns with copper sculptures and green plants.
Each side of the hallway has many rooms, which display the masterpieces. The rooms are very big, clean and bright. I was surprised that there’s no single glass window around any of the artworks. That way visitors can look at them closer and better.
"It is such a bold and brave action," I said. "I would not trust everyone though."
"I know," my host mom said, "but look, there are security guards around us. They will make sure that nothing happens."
We spent hours wandering through the different rooms. The amazing masterpieces made me feel like a tiny ant when I stood in front of them. I never get bored or tired in a place like this! We saw a painting from Da Vinci, a self-portrait by Van Gogh, several paintings from Titian, and so on. At the end of the west gallery, we entered a garden, which I imagined was what the Garden of Eden must have looked like. There were large trees around the garden. Another grand fountain was topped by a bronze sculpture and surrounded by exotic plants and flowers such as bleeding-hearts.
After I finished visiting the west part, it was almost time to go. I asked my host parents if I could at least go to the East Garden Court and see how it looked. They said yes, but I had to go there by myself since I had exhausted everyone. I walked to the eastern hallway, but there is a huge curtain blocking the garden.
A gallery staff person told me that there was a concert being held in the garden, and no one could enter then. But she was kind enough to open the curtain just a little bit and let me have a quick peek. Actually, they look similar! It was almost as beautiful as the other one.
"Alright, little girl, we have to go now or we never will get to the Smithsonian," my host dad said.
As we finally left the National Gallery of Art, I was sad. There was so much more to see. I wish one day while I am in college, I will be able to visit again.