At Washington’s Famed Gallery of Art

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Washington DC is renowned for historic monuments. Its National Gallery of Art which houses the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the US, is one of those sure to pique tourists’ interest, writes Funke Olaode

There is always something spectacular about Washington DC, the capital of the United States. Apart from being the seat of government, its serenity and historical monuments have always endeared tourists and first timers to the famous city.

From the popular 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue which houses the White House where Mr. President resides, to the gigantic Chamber of Commerce building, Capitol Hill (legislative building), Union Station, Washington National Cathedral, the Pentagon, the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Department of Agriculture, Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Voice of America building and many more, Washington, DC, has established itself as one of the most visited cities in the world.

From low income earners to millionaires and celebrities, the city has attracted many as each day provides amazing sights to tourists’ delight.

The 2015 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings provided another opportunity to tour the city in 24 hours. For me, I thought I had seen it all until this year’s meetings when a media colleague from Ethiopia whom I met at a Forum in George Washington University called my attention to something that is not new but would be of interest.

Coincidentally, I passed through the place while on tour of the city last year but didn’t pay much attention to it. There is something peculiar and special about the architecture of this building. The National Gallery Museum of Arts has been in existence for 79 years and has welcomed thousands of tourists to its abode since establishment.

The National Gallery Museum of Arts located between 3rd and 7th Street on Constitution Avenue is of national pride to US citizens. Established in 1937, this edifice which ranked 2nd nationally and 8th globally showcases many arts collections. It is a great museum with artworks of famous artists.

Built a few meters to the street, the serenity is welcoming.

The place is open to the public free of charge from Monday to Friday from 10.am to 5.00pm and 11.00am to 6.00pm on Sunday. The museum, according to the guide, was established by a joint resolution of the United States Congress. Andrew Mellon donated a substantial art collection and funds for construction.

Surrounded by trees and beautiful flowers, the spring breeze which blows relentlessly would welcome the tourist to the edifice.

The museum is divided into different sections for tourists’ viewing pleasure and has the best paintings tucked in the massive building that date back to 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Here, tourists can view over 141,000 paintings, drawings, photographs and more.

The Gallery also has in its collection sculptures, medals and decorative arts that trace the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the America.

Apart from narrating the history of America, the gallery often presents temporary exhibitions of the world and the history of the arts. It also preserves masterpieces of America history.

After touring the building for three hours, the take away was not really about the art works and the well-illuminated environment, but preservation of history by the US authority which has provided opportunity for the past, present, and unborn generations and a visitor like me to have a glimpse of America of yesterday, today and probably tomorrow through the work of arts.