From July 9 to August 1, Stories in Art of the National Gallery of Art, introduces children (ages 4 to 7) to artists through careful looking, storytelling, and hands-on experimentation. Led by museum educators, each program includes reading a children’s book, exploring one work of art in the galleries, and completing a simple, hands-on activity. Each program is approximately 60 minutes. Current dates and topics are listed below.
These free drop-in programs are designed for individual families, and the gallery cannot accommodate groups. There is no advance registration, but space is limited; participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign-in for Stories in Art will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10:00 am on Saturdays and Mondays and at 11:00 am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled.
Would you like to visit the Netherlands this summer? Pack your imagination and travel to the National Gallery of Art! You’ll visit a windmill, sail the seas, discover mince pie, and listen to a concert. Participants learn about landscapes, still life, seascapes, and music by reading children’s books, looking at 17th-century Dutch art, and making a souvenir to document each adventure. You will receive a passport to the summer story series and a stamp for each program attended. If you collect all four stamps at the end of the summer, you will receive a prize!
When the National Gallery of Art opened to the public, the nucleus of its world-class collection consisted of 126 paintings and 26 sculptures given by Andrew Mellon—from Jan van Eyck’s Annunciation and Raphael’s Alba Madonna to Francisco de Goya’s Marquesa de Pontejos and Gilbert Stuart’sThe Skater. Yet Mellon insisted that the museum not bear his name, believing that it should be a truly national institution and knowing that it would depend on generous gifts of art from many individuals to fill its spacious galleries. Thanks to this foresight, other major donors were already giving their collections to the new museum before its opening.
In 1939 Samuel H. Kress (1863–1955) of New York donated 375 Italian paintings and 18 sculptures, which were on view with the Andrew Mellon collection when the museum opened in March 1941. In subsequent years he donated other important works, including the magnificent Adoration of the Magi tondo by Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi and Laocoön by El Greco. Later Samuel Kress’ brother Rush Kress (1876–1963) and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation refined and supplemented the Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art.
The splendid art collection first assembled by P.A.B. Widener (1834–1915) of Philadelphia and later enhanced by his son Joseph Widener (1871–1943) had been offered to the new National Gallery of Art in 1939. The gift could not be completed, however, until the federal government agreed to pay taxes to the state of Pennsylvania. This was accomplished through an act of Congress in 1942. Over the succeeding months the Widener Collection—including The Mill by Rembrandt van Rijn, A Woman Weighing Gold by Johannes Vermeer, The Feast of the Gods by Giovanni Bellini, and a wealth of sculpture, Chinese porcelain, and decorative arts—was installed at the National Gallery of Art.