Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals
Spring is the perfect time to visit Washington D.C, the United States’ capital. The weather is lovely and the crowds are still sparse. Summer, when most people can take their vacation time, the city becomes hot, humid and horribly crowded.
There is so much to do in the nation’s capital, but on my visit last week my mission was to see the Canaletto exhibit. I first saw this Venetian artist’s work years ago at a special exhibit in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I had gone to the Met to see something else, but decided to see the Canaletto exhibit as well. I was entranced. His scenes of the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, the gondolas, and San Marco piazza stirred my heart. Many years later, I finally got to visit Venice. On my first vaporetto ride up the Grand Canal, all I could think of were those magnificent paintings. As we approached the Rialto Bridge, I got a lump in my throat. The magic of Venice that Canaletto captured all those years ago looks the same way today.
The exhibit at the National Gallery is a large one and there are many of Canaletto’s paintings as well as many by his followers. The exhibit is called Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals and it, like all the exhibits in the gallery, is free. I love his work more now that I’ve been there a few times and can recognize the places he painted all those years ago.
The National Gallery has two wings. The East building houses contemporary art and was designed by I.M. Pei. The West contains European art from the thirteenth through the nineteenth century. The two buildings are divided by an ultra-cool Star Wars moving sidewalk. www.nga.gov for hours and directions.
Outside, you can stroll through the sculpture garden. The centerpiece is a magnificent fountain. There are whimsical sculptures like a giant aluminum tree and a house that looks like it’s three dimensional.
Before leaving, we strolled the mall; the long stretch that leads to the Washington Monument. It was a gorgeous day and people were outside enjoying the spring weather.