The National Gallery of Art with a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old…
We get to the museum, but everyone is hungry. So the first order of business is food, except that we must walk through two gift shops enroute to the eating area. So the first 500 orders of business are to touch and discuss every item. In one gift shop, Ezra stops at the jewelry. “It is very pretty. Would you like to wear it, Mama?” “Yes, I would.” “Then it would get very old, and you could put it back in the museum.”
After lunch Ezra requests we go to “outern space,” the twinkling tunnel between the east and west wing of the museum. It is, by far, Ezra’s favorite part of the museum. The baby loves it too.
He could spend all day here. We have been in the museum for over two hours and have not yet entered a single gallery. After 5 (hundred?) or so laps through outern space, I convince him we should go look at art. Ezra is enthusiastic. “Let’s see the art. Let’s see the man with the broken sword and the penis.”
Ah, yes. Do you know this work?
It is “The Dying Gaul,” a naked man with a broken sword. It was at the National Gallery earlier this year for a special exhibit and is now (presumably) back in Italy. Well, this sparks GREAT INTEREST in how art travels. Such that the main question about every piece of art we look at becomes “and did it go on a plane?” TRANSPORTATION, people. It is important.
Me:”Look, here is another sculpture. Can you believe the artist CARVED this out of A BIG ROCK?” Ezra: “And did it go on a plane?”
We wander a few exhibits in search of “paintings of men with swords.” We find the Shaw Memorial, but when I am asked about WHY they are going into battle and WHY there is a war, I decide my blood sugar is way too low for this. Time to go outside for another snack.
But first, let’s look at a few more pieces of art.
“The artist called this painting ‘The Sunflower.’ This is what a sunflower looked like to him. Do you see a sunflower?”
“I think I would call it, ‘Big Scary Monster with One Eye.'”
“The artist called this painting “Wind from the Sea.” Do you see the wind anywhere in this painting?
“I see the wind in the spiderwebs!”
“I would like to do a painting of a Jedi spaceship. I would call it ‘Jedi Spaceship,’ but I would write the name ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PAINTING.”
“On the back of the painting?”
“No, ON THE OTHER SIDE. So people can see it. ‘Jedi Spaceship.'”
“I would also like to paint my soccer ball.”
Time to head to the sculpture garden…
“I want to climb this one.” (I agree.)
There you have it, folks. Art appreciation!