The Siege of Cosel, which was painted around 1808 is like a woman covered in veils. Gossamer layers of gray, recede ever fainter as he paints the foggy battle scene. Textbooks do not show this well. Even though the painting is massive — larger than a wall in most homes — these figures are sometimes as small as the head of a pin, only visible less than a foot away from the canvas. Seeing them makes the average museum guard nervous as you move scant inches from the canvas.
Most of us in D.C. take the Smithsonian for granted. It’s just there. Like air. Like food from high class eateries and overpriced food trucks. Living in a city where the Smithsonian is generally open every day of the year (except for December 25th), and where the world’s greatest museum is free, means we pop in and out of exhibits like teenagers popping in and out of friends’ homes (and refrigerators). Join me for a virtual visit to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum during the government shutdown.