Washington's National Gallery of Art is celebrating President Obama's second inauguration with special exhibits ranging from Roy Lichtenstein's print "The Oval Office" to Michelangelo's sculpture "David-Apollo", in addition to Presidential portraits by Gilbert Stuart.
Now, like then, the extremely rare loan is a "symbol of the deep friendship of our two countries," Italy's Foreign Affairs Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata told guests at the statue's unveiling last month. In 1949, Italy loaned it "in gratitude to the United States for its invaluable help post-war."
This is only the ninth time that the masterpiece, created almost 600 years ago, has been seen outside Florence. Its home is the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence. But through March 3, it can be viewed at the National Gallery's grand Italianate Rotunda in the West Building.
Lichtenstein's print "The Oval Office" (1992), in his signature cartoon-ish style, can be seen in the National Gallery's East Building Auditorium lobby. (This somewhat eases separation anxiety after the Jan. 13 closing of the museum's "Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective".)
On permanent display, in the West Building, is the only surviving set of portraits depicting the first five American presidents. These famed Gibbs-Coolidge portraits, by Gilbert Stuart, the "Father of American Portraiture", are among 13 of the museum's permanently displayed works by Stuart. (It owns 42 by Stuart.)
The gallery's newly conserved portraits of George Washington, John Adams, and Abigail Adams are in its recently installed "Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection, 1700–1830", the first major presentation of early American furniture and related decorative arts on permanent public view in Washington.
Inspired by "Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection", award-winning chef Cathal Armstrong has created signature American dishes for the museum's Garden Café Americana on the West Building’s Ground Floor.
From all-American apple pie to turkey pot pie, and pot roast to Parker House rolls, the menu was devised by (native Dubliner) Armstrong. He is chef and owner of Restaurant Eve, in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and six other metro area establishments.
On Inauguration Day Jan. 21, the museum's West Building will be open from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. The East Building and the Sculpture Garden, Pavilion Café, and Ice Rink will be closed.
The West Building will be accessible only through the entrances on Seventh Street and the National Mall on Madison Drive. The inaugural parade passes in front of part of the museum.