Art / Architecture / Museums

Museum Mondays: The Smithsonian Reopens and Life Imitates Art

Okay everyone, we can breathe again. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery, and the National Zoo are all opening again as of Tuesday January 29th. Still, one never knows what will happen next in D.C. so if you want to go, go now.

For those of you who can’t make the trek, here is a favorite among the photos I’ve taken. In it, life imitates art, unwittingly, in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden. The first hint of spring had people taking advantage of the sunny lawn. I love how the curve of the reclining couple’s legs mimic those of the sculpture.

copyright Diana Belchase 2018

Here is another example. When I was in Munich just before Christmas, I came upon this painting called Tired of Life painted by Ferdinand Hodler in 1892. The painting at the Alte Pinakothek is much more compelling in life (no pun intended) than in my photo below.

Photo (c) Diana Belchase 2018

However, what I didn’t expect was to look back as I exited the room and see this young man staring back at me. The benches are so similar to the ones in the painting, and he himself looks as if he stepped right out of the painting with the same soulful eyes, tan complexion and dark beard.

Photo (c) Diana Belchase 2018

These photos are complete flukes, but I see things like this so often, and so often miss them, that I sometimes wish I had a little camera embedded in my eye that would allow me to instantly record what I see.

Two shots I really regret missing in my life happened in the early 90s. In fact, they occurred on the same day. One missed opportunity happened when a very elderly and beautiful Indian woman in a brightly colored sari decided to sit on the edge of a fountain at the mall.

Every wrinkle on her face added to her loveliness. Her serene expression was like nothing I’d ever seen.The sari she wore was in the same colors as the curving modern sculpture in the middle of the fountain, which also mimicked the curves and folds of her outfit. To me, she resembled a queen.

(courtesy Prexels)

The second lost opportunity that day occurred when a muslim woman, wrapped head to toe in black, so that only her eyes were visible, nervously extended a finger out of her dark robe to tentatively touch a computer.

Today, she probably wouldn’t have the same reaction, but this was in the early days when computers weren’t in every household. I still remember how Radio Shack, a store that no longer exists, but was one of the pioneers in selling technology to the pubic, had rolled the PC out in front of the store encouraging people to try it.

What was most interesting about the missed photo was not what the woman was feeling, but what we were all feeling about computers at the time. We all were confused and nervous about how to use this new essential device.

Hope you enjoyed these whimsical photos as much as I did. Please hurry to the Smithsonian and get your museum fix on asap. And don’t forget to stop at the museum stores, they support these fine institutions who have lost a great deal of money in the last month of closings.

2 replies »

  1. Love the photo of the couple beneath the sculpture, but boy does it make me miss the warm weather, especially since it’s snowing where I am right now…brrrr

    • It’s been freezing here, too, and I wondered if I was pushing it with the spring photo! Glad you weathered through both in real life and in reading the post here. LOL.

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