Canon DSLR – National Gallery of Art, DC

The first full day I was out, we went to the National Gallery to use up a little time between meet-ups. We knew we only had a couple of hours and couldn’t see everything, but I’m glad we went because there was no way I was going to be able to see everything there in one visit. I found myself drawn to the sculptures a lot and how the light reflected off of them.

The piece that hit me emotionally the most was this one. Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de’ Benci.

Leonardo da Vinci's Ginevra de' Benci in a display case

I wasn’t even aware that there was a da Vinci at the National Gallery until we were talking to one of the security staff and they mentioned that was their favorite place to just go sit. The four of us only had a short amount of time before we had to leave so we headed up to see it. The room was fairly crowded (the above photo was taken another day when very few people were there), but you could get fairly close to the painting – well, as close as the guards, pedestal, and glass would let you.

It’s small – the frame makes it look larger – but I just had this moment as I was looking at it.

“This is a real-life da Vinci painting. And you’re in front of it. You only thought you’d ever see a da Vinci painting in books or on TV when you were little. You thought you’d never get to leave Louisiana. You never thought you’d be able to come to DC, or London, or Los Angeles, or anywhere else you’ve gone. And now, at 45 years old, you’re in front of an honest-to-God da Vinci painting, with friends, in a huge art museum.”

I started to cry.

As we were leaving the room, I asked my friends if we could sit for a second, because I was having a pretty emotional moment. They asked if I was okay, and I explained what was going through my mind. They sat there and felt it right along with me, no judgement, no snark. That right there is why I love my friends.

And then we left and went to a Tiki bar and had nachos and fruity drinks.

I went back a few days later when I was toodling around DC by myself, and got to see some of the other exhibits and rooms that I missed the first time around. I was kind of sad that the entire modern art section was closed off due to renovations, but OH DARN I guess I’ll have to go back after it reopens.

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