We had just planned to ‘Meet Mary’ at the Picturing Mary exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts but ended up with an unexpected art weekend. I was looking forward to visiting the museum, my former workplace, via a jaunt on the Metro, viewing artwork and then returning. The exhibit was on my list of things to see and we barely caught it on its last day.
I was not only impressed with the many types of artwork (60 art pieces: paintings of course, as well as marble and boxwood sculptures, enamels, polychrome terracotta and mini altarpiece triptychs, to name a few) but also the exhibition design, a field that at one time I thought I’d pursue. Each room was painted in a deep bold color that truly made the art pop as well as helped the visual flow for the different aspects of Mary that were presented: Mary in the Life of Believers, Mary as Idea, Singular Life, Woman & Mother, Madonna & Child, Mother of Crucified. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, but you can start your interactive tour here.
The exhibit was very accessible for the religious as well as secular. Here’s a good synopsis from NPR.
It included Botticelli’s Madonna & Child, one of my favorite paintings of Mary. I also enjoyed seeing Mary in a new light with Barbarino’s rendition that depicted exquisite Middle Eastern details.
Nicolò Barabino’s 1884 mural Faith with Representations of the Arts
I’m so glad we went! We had to celebrate being in the city, doing something educational and on such a beautiful day, instead of the usual extended work week.
We walked a short distance past the Penn Quarter park and found ourselves stopping for snack of delicious Belgium beer and classic mussels, Robert Weidemeir style, sitting outside at Brasserie Beck.
Penn Quarter City Park – Like these gold bistro chairs
We had to pry ourselves away it was so glorious to be enjoying the day with nothing do to but enjoy the moment.
Alas, it was time to go home but we took the long way. We walked all the way from Penn Quarter to Georgetown because Peter had a bottle of Pacharon on his mind and one of the oldest liquor stores in the city might be able to order it; although, we knew most likely they could not. It was a good excuse to extend our excursion. There are no stateside distributors. We didn’t realize how lucky we are that our friends have brought us several bottles from their ongoing travels to Spain.
special pacharon – a Spanish digestif
All that walking, about 4 miles, made us hungry for a more substantial meal, so we stopped by a recent find, il Canale and were able to bypass a small wait since we were just 2 people. They have some of the best wood-fired pizzas and don’t take reservations. Again, we were lucky.
Peter at il Canale
We needed to exercise off all this good food and drink, so instead of taking the nearest Foggy Bottom Metro (not all that close), we chose to walk across Key Bridge into Rosslyn and take the Metro there.
We must have walked a total of 6 miles that day. No wonder my feet had blisters.
It didn’t stop us from exploring some nearer by developments to us in Alexandria the next day. The entire area off Route 1 in Old Town on the Northside of town has been redeveloped. Bastille has moved here, where we recently celebrated our anniversary but found it OK, too loud and not as good as the previous location, which they have maintained as their bistro. There are other restaurants that we want to try like Maison Social. We like that the pocket park just across the street has a ping pong table that we’re gonna have to try out.
Bastille via Red Brick Blog
We settled for an afternoon beer at the Lost Dog Cafe. We had only seen it driving by from the front side where it always seemed packed. We didn’t realize they had outdoor dining in back and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate another glorious, sunshine-filled day.
Belle Pre Art Sculpture
We sat soaking in the sun on their newly opened patio while enjoying their “adult grilled cheese” and bottles of beer. We watched the light cast colorful shadows through the outdoor sculptured darts just to our right. We didn’t realize until we walked past this on our way home that the new condos were called Belle Pre for a reason — after the Bottle Factory that had been previously located on this site. There was an exhibit that showed all the different types of bottles they produced, including the first “lipped” bottle as Coke and other manufacturers came to use and has become the standard. Belle Pre made a lot of their money off the licensing of their patent.
Belle Pre Glass Factory Exhibit
Who knew such history was so close by. Unexpected adventures are the best!