Monday, September 12, 2016


I didn't share all the photos I took when we last visited the art gallery, so thought I would do another post today.

Venice: The Dogana and San Georgia Maggiore
Oil on canvas, 1834
Turner, Joseph Mallord William
British 1775 - 1851
Widener Collection

Maria Teresa de Borbon y Vallabriga, 
later Condesa de Chinchon
Oil on Canvas 1783
Francisco de Goya
Spanish, 1746-1828
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection

Ginevra de' Benci
Oil on Panel c. 1474-1478
Leonardo da Vinci
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund

I was in awe to see a painting on display by Leonardo da Vinci.  It is the only one in America painted by the artist.  Ginevra de' Benci was a Florentine noblewoman who at the age of sixteen was married to Luigi Niccolini in 1474.  It is suggested that this may have been an engagement or wedding portrait, or commissioned by Bernardo Bembo, the Venetian Ambassador to Florence and Ginevra's close friend and admirer.

I was surprised that I could walk behind the painting to see the reverse side.  It showed that on the back was a wreath of laurel and palm encircling a sprig of juniper.  A scroll bears the Latin inscription, "Virtutem Forma Decorat" -  "Beauty Adorns Virtue."

Astonishingly, and I didn't know until I read this information on line a few days after our visit, on the front of the painting you can actually see Leonardo's fingerprints on the paint surface. These show how the artist used his hand as well as a brush to blend colors and create soft, delicate edges.  I dearly want to go back to the gallery to see this painting again, and look for those fingerprints.  I took a photo of the explanation which you can see below.  It will be easier to read if you enlarge.  You can read more here.

The Black Hat
c. 1890
Mary Cassatt
American, 1844-1926
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1985

On the Stile 
Winslow Homer
American 1836-1910
Watercolor, gouache and graphite on wove paper
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

Mount Corcoran
c. 1876-1877
Albert Bierstadt
American, 1830-1902
Oil on Canvas
Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase Gallery Fund)

That's all for today's post.  I have more photos to share another time.


  1. I think Mount Corcoran's my favourite... it's the climber in me. Fascinating about the Leonardo!

  2. Some beauties. I wonder whether the artists realised that their works would be cherished long after they were gone?

  3. Darn! We didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked to. The girl doesn't look happy about being engaged at 16. I'm enjoying your photos of what I missed

  4. These treasures are wonderful to behold. Thank you. Just thinking of Leonardo's existing right now in D.C. thrills me, Denise

  5. I am totally in awe of these magnificent pictures. I thought it was a da Vinci and I recognized the Mary Cassatt one right off the bat. I think my favorite has to be the Goya. There is something so feminine about it and the colors are beautiful. Please share some more. If I get back up there, I would love to met up with you and go to the museums...until we drop. It would be such fun. genie

  6. What a lovely gallery, Denise! Beautiful paintings!

  7. What fascinating information about the fingerprints!!! Really getting his fingers in his work; it shows that it was deep in his soul. His is a sad and tormented story. But then I suppose if he had a normal temperament, he would not have been so gifted.

  8. Maria Teresa looks like a sassy young lady! And the other works are wonderful too.

  9. These painting asre so wonderful adn my class that is meeting this afternoon would love to pay this gallery a visit

  10. How wonderful to see the Da Vinci painting. You will definitely have to go back to see the fingerprints.

  11. GALLERY OF ART IN WASHINGTON DC um dos grandes museus do mundo com obras de arte espectaculares.
    Um abra├žo e boa semana.

  12. Beautiful - my kind of art. The girl in the Black Hat is astonishingly life-like - and gorgeous.

  13. I had no idea that there was only one painting by Da Vinci here in the U.S., nor did I know the other background information you shared here. So interesting!
    Thank you for sharing at

  14. that is fascinating about the back of the painting. I have never seen anything like that. my favorite today is the the black hat. paintings are so amazing to me that all those tiny strokes can make beauty

  15. I love The Black Hat! I didn't go to the National Gallery the last time we were in DC.

  16. Hello Denise, pretty paintings! Thanks for sharing your visit to the museum. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  17. I didn't see the painter's finger prints, but that portrait is absolutely beautiful. Just love it.

  18. The DaVinci is amazing -- to see his fingerprints oh my goodness... and fascinating that you can look at the back of the portrait (and that there was something there .. I would have have imagined that). All the pix are wonderful and I'm grateful for your shares -- I lespecially oved the portrait of that little girl (countess to be) with her dog -- hand on hip, that little girl had an attitude!

  19. Lovely paintings. I have been there too and it is a nice place to visit.

  20. Hi Denise, some stunning paintings, the work by Leonardo da Vinci with the scroll on the reverse is a super idea, unfortunately the lady is no stunning beauty. Regards John.

  21. Love this historic series! Nice you could take photos inside the museum (in Europe the only only one I know who allows that is the Chagall museum). Love Marie Cassat's painting. When you see de' Benci's face, it's interesting to see the interpretation of painters in the past, and how they would approach it now - completely different - they would feature her Italian heritage, instead of her social status. Have a great week Denis, and thank you for sharing this beautiful series with SEASONS!

  22. I have always been a fan of Winslow Homer. He painted many scenes in the Adirondack Mountains and I have several prints for his. Thanks for sharing this collection of treasures, I invite you to visit again.

  23. I adored visiting these museums as a teen with my Mom! This sure brings back memories...being filled with a passion for art and writing and wondering what my future held. Lovely post! Thank you too for your really sweet comments on my blog posts lately, and for the thought that we might get to meet! Would love to!

  24. I just adore art like this, we are so very fortunate to be able to enjoy it.

    Thanks for a truly wonderful post

    All the best Jan

  25. Hello Denise! It's so impressive to see a Da Vinci's painting!! So lovely series of art works in your post! Many thanks for sharing them with us!


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