Posted by Winniem on May 8th, 2019
The museum chooses to visit the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery located at Eighth and F Streets, NW, Washington, DC. This historic art museum reflects the connection between American history, art and biography by telling the multifaceted story of the United States through the people who have shaped the country’s culture. The museum was founded in 1962 by the Congress but opened to the public in 1968. The mission of the art museum as stated on the museum’s website is telling the story of Americans by portraying the people who influence the country’s history, development, and culture. I visited the museum on Friday, 8th 2017 in the afternoon.
Type of museum
The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery is a portrait museum with many collections that present American people of remarkable character and achievements including politicians, artists, scientists, activists, inventors, and performers. This art museum uses performing arts, visual arts and new media to present presidents and poets, actors and activists, visionaries and villains whose lives have formed the national identity of the country (Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 2017). Today, the art gallery boasts of over 23, 000 items in the display of all kind of media ranging from digital (the modern form of photographic prints) to daguerreotypes (the earliest form of photography). The collection of art includes multiple images of numerous presidents who have served as the commander in Chief of the US including the renowned “Landsdowne” portrait of George Washington that was painted by Gilbert Stuart, the Alexander Gardner portrait of Abraham Lincoln “cracked-plate” as well as the caricatured sculptures of Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter
Smithsonian National Portrait gallery setting
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is hosted in the same building as the National Portrait Gallery (Kennicott, 2017). The building comprises of four floors housing the different kinds of portraits. The first floor has on the side of Smithsonian American Art Museum the American experience section, the special exhibitions and the folk and self-taught art; while on the side of National Portrait Gallery is comprised of American origins, 1600-1900, one life, special exhibitions and recent acquisitions. The second floor on the side of Smithsonian American Art Museum comprises of graphic arts and American art through 1940; while in the National, Portrait wing is the portraits of American presidents, the struggle of justice, special exhibitions, and portrait connection. On the third floor, the Smithsonian American Art Museum houses the Special Exhibitions, Luce Foundation Center (Public Study/Art Storage Center), Art Since 1945 and contemporary Art; while at the National Portrait Gallery is the Twentieth century Americans and Great Hall. On the third floor mezzanines, the Smithsonian American Art Museum houses the Luce Foundation Center; while at the National Portrait Gallery is the champions and BRAVO! The fourth floor is occupied by the Smithsonian American Art Museum housing both the Lunder Conservation Center and Luce Foundation Center.
The remarkable collections of the art museum of daguerreotypes were my most interesting in the visit. The collection included portraits of George Washington, Sarah Meade, Charles Richard Meade, and many others. The “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington painted by Gilbert Stuart in oil on canvas was breathtaking (Aronson & Wieseman, 2006). In the portrait, Washington gestures towards an unseen assembly and the audience. Some of the notable art tools used in the portrait include a rainbow which symbolizes peace and prosperity of the nation.
Aronson, J., & Wieseman, M. E. (2006). Perfect likeness: European and American portrait miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum. Yale University Press.
Kennicott, P. (2017). History. Web.
Smithsonian National Portrait gallery (2017). Smithsonian National Portrait gallery. Website.
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