Hello. It is now July 2012 and this post is still sitting in my drafts. Since I'm not sure I will ever find the motivation to complete it as I'd like I'm just going to post it as is back in April of 2011 when I had intended to post it originally. Anyhow, I have always loved art and enjoy the beautiful art museums we have right here in DC. The fact that they're free is a huge bonus. The museum is divided into two parts - East and West. You will find permanent displays as well as temporary exhibits.
Even the building itself is beautiful.
Here are some pieces of art that I found intriguing.
Claudia Casta Quinta by Neroccio de' Landi, 1490-14995. If you want to read a little more about this painting go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/byray/2597348899/ She looks so modern to me.
Mrs. Thomas Graham by Thomas Gainsborough in 1777
Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still on Gibeon by John Martin 1816. The lighting and detail in this is amazing.
Miss Eleanor Urquhart by Sir Henry Raeburn 1795
You can also see Ginevra by Leonardo da Vinci or The Alba madonna by Raphael or Self-Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn.
If you start at the East Building, then take the underground ramp to the West Building the first room in the West building that you come into is gold. You can see originals by Picasso, Cezanne, Manet, Monet and Degas.