I took advantage of my free administrative time today and went to the National Gallery of Art. What a good choice I made! I started in the East Building, designed by I.M. Pei. The Matisse collages are there and the hours of viewing are limited. I'm so glad I started in that room. The collages are joyous. Huge. Smile-inducing. Grand. On the same level I spent some time looking at a few paintings by Rothko and Pollock. Then they have a room of Calder wire and structural sculptures. What fun! I think Selim would have liked the works by Calder.
I took advantage of the underground connector and went over to the West building, any excuse not to go back outside. I picked up their cheat-sheet of what you have to see in an hour. Luckily I had a bit more time than that. The ground level contains the works that comprise the Chester Dale Collection -- Renoir, William Merritt Chase, Matisse, Cassatt, Modigliani, Degas, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Braque, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and others. Quite impressive. I spent more time upstairs in the American and British sections with Homer, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassan, Turner, and Cole. My three favorites of the day in the West Building were: a Degas in the Dale collection in a style that I had never seen before and I wish I had written down the title, it had woman and red in it, Pavement Cairo by Sargent, and Poppies, Isles of Shoals by Hassan.
I was totally surprised at how much I enjoyed the 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Galleries. I thought I would breeze right past/through them, but I lingered. The Vermeer paintings are so small yet powerful and amazing. I also took my time with the Rembrandt portraits. The end of my highlight tour included Goya, the da Vinci Ginevra and the Fra Angelico and Fra Lippi The Adoration of the Magi. Looking/ gazing/ admiring/ getting lost in/ enjoying/ marveling/ smiling -- at all the works of art was a perfect way to spend a 100 degree morning into afternoon in the city.
Around 12:30 I made my way by metro to Foggy Bottom and walked to the Columbia Plaza building for the second half of my medical clearance exam. I stopped in for a water at a buffet place and ran into three other people who are taking Congen at FSI. They are in the class that started 7 days after I did. I sat down at their table. One is a spouse who is currently in New Delhi and has come back to the states just to take Congen. She was very welcoming and thought that my possibly going to New Delhi was great. If I heard correctly, FSI was closed today because of a power outage or something. But I'm not certain that is what was said. In any case, they were in the area to have some of their consultations. I enjoyed chatting for a few minutes.
My medical exam went well. The doctor was very nice and if my TB test comes out regular, then I should receive my medical clearance. I have to go to the clinic at FSI for someone there to read my arm, where the nurse injected something to test for TB, on Monday. Assuming that is fine, I should be cleared. Once I know where I will be going, I will get country specific shots.
Since it was so ghastly hot, I decided not to try to do anything else. I came back to the hotel and started in on my reading. I have to think about getting some dinner soon. But I'm not eager to head back outside. I might make due with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some carrots.