On Tuesday, April 1st, after my walk among the cherry blossoms, I met my best buddy Steve for lunch and a museum stroll. We wandered about the original wing of the National Gallery of Art, where the older works are. It's a wonderful place, feeling very much the quintessential "art museum"... big columns, lots of marble, vaulted ceilings, etc. And some amazing art, of course. We approached it totally randomly, finding ourselves in an area where the French were predominant, then later wandering over to Rembrandt and other Dutch artists. Quite the contrast.
One thing that struck me, especially while looking at the Monet piece "Woman With a Parasol", was a sense of awe at what amazing things humans can be capable of. It's stunning and humbling, I find, to be face to face with a truly great work of art. It makes me more hopeful and optimistic to see the heights the human soul and mind can rise to. Not that it erases the corresponding depths to which we can sink, but it helps.
The image if the Monet painting, from the National Gallery website: