alone at the national gallery

Today I found myself wandering the National Gallery of Art, without planning to go or even to be in that area. But after doing a small bit of Christmas shopping early on, I wandered around Penn Quarter and saw an add on the side of a bus. It was the Cyprus exhibition, only the bus passed before I could see which museum it was at. Long story short, I figured it was at either the National Gallery (in the event of art work), or the Natural History Museum for…well, history.

I first went to the National Gallery, one of my favorite museums, and found it relatively quiet. And it was incredible. There were moments where I’d wander into a gallery and find myself completely alone. It was quiet. Just the paintings and me.

I don’t think I’d been to the National Gallery on such a quiet day.  And it wasn’t every gallery of course. The Impressionist collection was still quite busy, as were the sculptures. I don’t know if the holiday shopping took people to the stores, or if the rain kept them home, but it was nice to have that experience of enjoying art without moving on because of someone viewing it next to me, trying to get a better view.

I didn’t make it to the Natural History museum. After I left, the rain had come back and I figured it was a sign to get home and do some more holiday baking. So I will save that for another weekend, but it was so great to spend some time with some old French, Italian and American paintings that I love and hadn’t seen in awhile. And to stand there looking at the ways the painter played with the sunlight glinting on waves without thinking of other people behind me or around me, wondering if I was in their way or wanting to see better around someone else’s shoulder.

I am still looking forward to the Cyprus exhibition.


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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