Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery


Pen&ink and watercolor on A5 Hahnemühle sketchbook

Both museums share the same building. I went there exclusively to see the portraits of the American presidents. To think that presidents picked the artist to paint their portrait and to think that the artist had the president right in front of them, it’s fascinating to me. It’s the closest I would feel to be near a president, even over time. The choice of poses, the background, the suit or clothing, the painting style, the media, the colors. The artist had a tremendous load in the shoulders (I think) to portray the essence, spirit and personality of the individual. Fantastic. I made some observations that found interesting. Washington and Lincoln had premium locations and the paintings were very big. Nixon had one of the smallest portraits. The last president was the only one without a painting, just a photograph. 

The central courtyard was my chance to sketch the place, the tables and chairs made it an easy decision, pardon me my fellow sketchers for not providing whether or not sketching was allowed indoors, I didn’t asked, but I will show next my favorite painting of a historical figure who I admire deeply, it’s not a president, but she should have been one, Eleanor Roosevelt.


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