The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture is home to two great museums, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. And it really is an incredible place.
|Donald W. Reynolds Center – Washington DC
The Great Hall
This regal space, accentuated by late 19th century architectural highlights was the reception area where President Lincoln and Mrs. Lincoln greeted guests attending the president’s second inaugural ball. The hand laid encaustic tile floor, curving double staircase and soaring vaulted ceilings are sure to captivate your guests.
The Donald W. Reynolds Center is also huge. It takes up two full city blocks with exhibitions spread over 3 floors. There are so many wonderful things to see, we went there twice during our vacation to Washington DC.
|Map of the First Floor of the Reynolds Center
Visitors Guide and Map
On our first visit we stuck to the first floor. At first the Exhibition, Monuments Men: On the Frontline to Save Europe’s Art, 1942-1946, confused me. It wasn’t American Art or Portraiture. It turned out that there is even more to the Reynold’s Center. The Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery on the 1st Floor is the exhibition space for the the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
The exhibition consists of original photographs, official military records, and letters of seven key Monuments Men. Although I haven’t seen the recent movie, I wasn’t unaware of their mission. The importance of their mission really hit me when I saw these photos.
If I were more organized I’d be able to show you a picture I took of the Madonna of Bruges in July of 1992. The following is probably a better picture but even it can’t compare to seeing it in person. The Madonna of Bruges is one of the most beautiful statues I have ever seen and Bruges is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever been in.
|Michelangelos Madonna, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Brugge
ArtMechanic: Wikimedia Commons
For more information, read the article The True Story of the Monuments Men by Jim Morrison at Smithsonian.com.