National Gallery of Art
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The National Gallery of Art is a national art museum, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum was established in 1938 by the United States Congress, with funds for construction and a substantial art collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon plus major art works donated by Lessing J. Rosenwald, Italian art contributions from Samuel Henry Kress, and more than 2,000 sculptures, paintings, pieces of decorative art, and porcelains from Joseph E. Widener. As a result of bequests such as these, the National Gallery today houses one of the finest collections of Western painting and sculpture in the world.
The National Gallery of Art has one of the finest art collections in the world. It was created for the people of the United States of America by a joint resolution of Congress accepting the gift of financier, public servant, and art collector Andrew W. Mellon in 1937. European and American paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, and decorative arts are displayed in the collection galleries and Sculpture Garden. The permanent collection of paintings spans from the Middle Ages to the present day. The strongest collection is the Italian Renaissance collection, which includes two panels from Duccio's Maesta, the great tondo of the Adoration of the Magi by Fra Angelico and Filippo Lippi, a Botticelli on the same subject, Giorgione's Allendale Nativity, Bellini's The Feast of the Gods, the only Leonardo painting in the Americas, and significant groups of works by Titian and Raphael. However, the other European collections include examples of the work of many of the great masters of western painting, including Grünewald, Cranach the Elder, Van der Weyden, Durer, Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, Ingres, and Delacroix, among others. The collection of sculpture and decorative arts is admittedly not quite as rich as this, but includes such works as the Chalice of Abbot Suger of St-Denis and a superb collection of work by Rodin and Degas.