New Favorites (Washington’s National Gallery, 15)

Aside from seeing real paintings and sculptures – which are always much better than even the most excellent photos – the best reason to visit a gallery or museum in person is serendipity. How else would you stumble across pieces you didn’t know you wanted to see?

Pittaluga (never heard of him!)

Pittaluga Italian, active 1915 Nymph of the Fields 1915 marble overall: 169.3 x 49 x 49.5 cm (66 5/8 x 19 5/16 x 19 1/2 in.). Washington, National Gallery of Art, Gift of the Honorable W.S. Stuckey, Jr.1975.101.1

Pittaluga
Italian, active 1915
Nymph of the Fields
1915
marble
overall: 169.3 x 49 x 49.5 cm (66 5/8 x 19 5/16 x 19 1/2 in.). Washington, National Gallery of Art, Gift of the Honorable W.S. Stuckey, Jr.1975.101.1. Photo: National Gallery

This one’s also a case in point of why I like taking my own pics, whenever I’m allowed. That blue behind the figure is distractingly bright. Also, the NGA’s site only offers one view, and I like the view from the side, which shows her weightless posture. (White marble’s a beast to photograph, if you don’t control the lighting.)

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Fields. Photo: Dianne L. Durante

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Fields. Photo: Dianne L. Durante

And, even though the lighting shadows her face, I like the close-up view.

Pittaluga_NymphFieldsHead 201610Washington (56)

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Fields. Photo: Dianne L. Durante

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Fields. Photo: Dianne L. Durante

Not only is she lovely, but she’s got a friend.

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Woods. 1915 marble overall: 168.3 x 58.3 x 50.8 cm (66 1/4 x 22 15/16 x 20 in.). National Gallery, Gift of the Honorable W.S. Stuckey, Jr.1975.101.2. Photo: Dianne Durante.

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Woods. 1915
marble
overall: 168.3 x 58.3 x 50.8 cm (66 1/4 x 22 15/16 x 20 in.). National Gallery,
Gift of the Honorable W.S. Stuckey, Jr.1975.101.2. Photo: Dianne Durante.

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Woods. 1915 marble overall: 168.3 x 58.3 x 50.8 cm (66 1/4 x 22 15/16 x 20 in.). National Gallery, Gift of the Honorable W.S. Stuckey, Jr.1975.101.2. Photo: Dianne Durante.

Pittaluga, Nymph of the Woods. 1915
marble
overall: 168.3 x 58.3 x 50.8 cm (66 1/4 x 22 15/16 x 20 in.). National Gallery,
Gift of the Honorable W.S. Stuckey, Jr.1975.101.2. Photo: Dianne Durante.

Verrocchio’s Putto Poised on a Globe

Verrocchio is credited with the first garden sculptures (usually for fountains), which had no purpose other than looking charming. It took this Putto about a hundred years to “grow up” into the Mercury that presides over the NGA’s rotunda. Tough to photograph, since he’s trapped behind glass.

Andrea del Verrocchio, Putto Poised on a Globe, Italian, 1435 - 1488, probably 1480, unbaked clay. Washington, National Gallery, Andrew W. Mellon Collection. Photo: National Gallery

Andrea del Verrocchio, Putto Poised on a Globe, Italian, 1435 – 1488, probably 1480, unbaked clay. Washington, National Gallery, Andrew W. Mellon Collection. Photo: National Gallery

Riccio plaquettes

There’s a lovely case full of them, but they’re impossible to photograph well behind glass, and the National Gallery’s site doesn’t provide images. Make a point to find them when you’re at the National Gallery.

Philippe-Laurent Roland

Nothing says “I love you” like a well-done portrait – this is Roland’s wife.

Philippe-Laurante Roland, Portrait of his wife, ca. 1782-83. Washington, national Gallery. Photo: Dianne L. Durante

Philippe-Laurante Roland, Portrait of his wife, ca. 1782-83. Washington, national Gallery. Photo: Dianne L. Durante

Meissonier, Horseman in a Storm

The wind looks almost like a physical barrier.

Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Horseman in a Storm, French, 1815 - 1891, model c. 1878, cast after 1894, bronze. Washington, National Gallery, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo: National Gallery

Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Horseman in a Storm, French, 1815 – 1891, model c. 1878, cast after 1894, bronze. Washington, National Gallery, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo: National Gallery

Mercier, Gloria Victis

Remarkably moving, and executed with a remarkably high level of skill.

Mercié, Marius-Jean-Antonin French, 1845 - 1916 Gloria Victis model c. 1874, cast after 1879 bronze overall: 140 x 84.1 x 67.3 cm (55 1/8 x 33 1/8 x 26 1/2 in.) . Washington, National Gallery. Photo: National Gallery

Mercié, Marius-Jean-Antonin
French, 1845 – 1916
Gloria Victis
model c. 1874, cast after 1879
bronze
overall: 140 x 84.1 x 67.3 cm (55 1/8 x 33 1/8 x 26 1/2 in.) . Washington, National Gallery. Photo: National Gallery

Last but not least …

I thought Willem Coymans was dressed to the nines, but this gentleman (whose portrait hangs just right of the Hals portrait) far outdoes our Willem.

Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck (Dutch, 1606/1609 - 1662 ), Andries Stilte as a Standard Bearer, 1640, oil on canvas. Washington, National Gallery, Patrons' Permanent Fund. Photo: Natiional Gallery

Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck (Dutch, 1606/1609 – 1662 ), Andries Stilte as a Standard Bearer, 1640, oil on canvas. Washington, National Gallery, Patrons’ Permanent Fund. Photo: Natiional Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Dianne L. Durante

I’m an independent scholar and freelance writer /lecturer on art and art history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are 3 volumes on Alexander Hamilton, *Central Park: The Early Years,* *Innovators in Sculpture* (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and two videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see https://www.patreon.com/diannedurante .

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