Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


How observant to spot those dresses! Sounds like a perfect day. Although it's after the fact, please accept one more johnny-come-lately happy birthday!

By Blogger cathy, at 11:27 PM  

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008  

Thank you everyone for being so sweet as to comment and to wish me a happy birthday. Your wishes all went straight to my heart and made me feel that special birthday glow. It was a very happy one and a different sort as well. We took a trip up to DC to my all time favorite place up there, the only thing I miss from the city – the National Gallery. Oh la I love that place. I could move in. It has my favorite portrait – an un-known woman by Bronzino. The first time I saw this painting I just stopped dead in my tracks. I looked at that woman and I knew her! Only, of course, I didn't. But I felt like I was seeing someone I'd already met. I couldn't leave the building. I was just transfixed. There was another portrait by someone else, a young man, painted maybe 20 years before this painting, and I made up a whole novel about how at night they get down out of the portraits and live their real lives, and then get back into the paintings in the morning before the place opens up.
Here is my favorite

and here is the same dress with different hands and face,

a portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi that hangs in the Uffizi. Evidently he had a stock of dresses painted ahead of time - pretty efficient I'd say, and hey, fancy dress is fancy dress, no? Anyway, this is my favorite painting in Washington and it's only available in a postcard booklet of Renaissance paintings – even though they used her portrait down in the cafeteria – hmmm what is wrong with this?

We drove up to Springfield and took the metro in. Just in case you try it too – they don't charge for parking on Sundays. They don't tell you this, mind you, so you might make the mistake of buying the parking ticket, but if you are forewarned you'll know that you need only pay the $4.70 round trip ticket in and back. Get off at L'Enfant Plaza if you don't want to stroll across the mall. If it's a beautiful birthday, get off at Smithsonian and do take stale bread with you to toss to the pigeons.

We spent 5 glorious hours wandering in art, but this time, we didn't get completely sucked into 16th century Italy. While having a late lunch we realized that this always happens and there were other rooms, centuries and artists we wanted to see. I'm so glad we did. The last hour in the rooms filled with 19th century American and European masterpieces was a first for me!! I don't know if the Sargent portraits, the monumental David portrait of Napoleon – the famous one with his hand in his vest, at least twice life size – or the Gilbert Stuart skater brought me up short first, but I will tell you – those John Constable skies in the paintings are accurate. I know. I've been there. I've seen them!

At some point our brains filled up and we began making bad puns about art – a sure sign it was time to go home. We were stuffed with our late lunch and decided we didn't need dinner – just ice cream – from Carl's Frozen Custard – where I got both a hot fudge sundae and a chocolate malt. After all – it was a birthday. Home by 9 o'clock we listened to my birthday present from BD, Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti in Lucia di Lammermoor. Singing you would not believe, music that is mostly unfamiliar to me – a new adventure. (We listened to the last disk last night because I am definitely not a night person. Thank goodness I didn't try to make music a career!)

And now it is a new season, the moon has rolled around to Libra, my sister's birthday is next and if I don't get cracking I will be late for work.

Happy Fall to you all.

posted by Bess | 7:42 AM