The richest collection of ancient paintings in the United States is displayed at the National Gallery of Art, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Art is closed only two days a year, on Christmas day and on the 1st of January 1 and access is free of charge. A unique feature is the guided visits organized for the blind people.
The collection owned by the National Gallery of Art comprises, on one hand, works belonging to the greatest art masters and, on the other hand, paintings by less-renown artists, belonging to minor schools from the history of art. The collection includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the present related to the development of Western Art.
It was founded in 1938 for the people of the United States of America by a joint resolution of the U. S. Congress, with funds for construction and an impressive art collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon. The valuable collection of Andrew Mellon (Director of Mellon National Park, then secretary of the Finance Ministry and ambassador in London) donated to the American government, includes 21 masterpieces taken from the famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Other important art works were donated by Paul Mellon, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Samuel Henry Kress, Rush Harrison Kress, Peter Arrell Brown Widener, Joseph E. Widener and Chester Dale.
Thanks to this acquisition in 1930-1931, in the American national collection there can be found now, "Saint George and the Dragon" by Raphael, "Ginevra de Benci”, the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci displayed in American museums, "Annunciation" by Van Eyck, "The Adoration of the Magi "by Botticelli, along with the paintings of Tiziano and Rembrandt. Also, the art works of the most influential artists from the 19-20th century such as Monet, Manet,Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne and Matisse can be admired here.
By Maria Morari
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