National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

3rd and 9th Streets NW along Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., United States
Phone: +1 (202) 737-4215
closed on: open every day, except January 1 and December 25
Museum Type: Art
West Building facade National Gallery of Art Washington DC

With over 4 million visitors a year, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is one of the most important art museums in the world, with masterpieces dating from the 12th century to the present.

History and buildings
The museum was founded in 1937 on a gift by American financier Andrew W. Mellon, who donated his art collection and provided initial funding for the realization of the museum.

Located on the National Mall, the National Gallery of Art is housed in two buildings: the classical-style West Building, designed by architect John Russell Pope and completed in 1940, and the modern-style East Building opened in 1978 after a design by architect I. M. Pei. The museum also includes a sculpture garden, which opened in 1999.
The West building, mostly dedicated to art before the 20th century, and the East building, which accommodates the collections of modern and contemporary art, are connected through an underground passage, decorated with a popular light sculpture, entitled Multiverse, created in 2008 by American artist Leo Villareal.

National Gallery of Art Washington aerial 1940

National Gallery of Art, West Building, aerial view, c. 1940, photo Mike Steele (CC BY 2.0).

East Building National Gallery of Art Washington

The facade of the East Building on 4th street NW, photo by OZinOH (CC BY-NC 2.0).

East Building lobby National Gallery of Art Washington 2

East Building, lobby, photo by Annaspies (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Walkway installation Leo Villareal National Gallery of Art Washington 2

The light installation “Multiverse” by Leo Villareal, “Concourse” underground walkway, photo by Mandy Jansen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Permanent collection and galleries
The vast collection of the museum encompasses an impressive ensemble of masterpieces, dating from the Middle Ages to the present, and includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs.

Duccio da Buoninsegna, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rubens, El Greco, Rembrandt, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Picasso, Irving Penn, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Mark Rothko, just to name a few; works by most of the greatest artists of all time are on display at the National Gallery of Art.
The collection of Italian Renaissance paintings is widely considered among the most important in the world. The museum also possesses the Portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci on public view in the United States.

Leonardo da Vinci, Ginevra de Benci,

Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, 1474-1478, oil on wood; photo jpellgen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Raphael The Alba Madonna National Gallery of Art Washington

Raphael, The Alba Madonna, c. 1510, photo by Sharon Mollerus (CC BY 2.0)

Gallery view West Building National Gallery of Art Washington

Interior view, West Building, National Gallery of Art, photo by ctj71081 

The National Gallery of Art hosts temporary exhibitions, special events, guided tours, lectures and talks, film screenings, concerts, and educational courses for kids and families.

The museum complex includes four cafes and three shops (one of which is especially aimed at children). The National Gallery of Art is fully accessible to physically-impaired people.

Cover image: National Gallery of Art, the facade of the West Building on Constitution Avenue, photo by aa440 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

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