From the Hermitage, with love

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in February/March 2016, so this post may not be representative of this site today.

This museum started when A.W. Mellon, a Pittsburg banker and Treasury Secretary from 1921-1932, gathered a private collection of old master paintings and sculptures during World War I, and decided in the late 1920s to work towards establishing a new national gallery for the country to enjoy.


Still Life, Flowers, and Fruit by Severin Roesen
Ruins of the Parthenon by Sanford Robinson Gifford
Lumber Schooners at Evening on Penobscot Bay by Fitz Henry Lane
Plaster cast of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

In 1930, Mellon established the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, which would own these works of art, starting with a collection of paintings purchased from the Soviets and which had previously been part of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. In 1937, Mellon used the trust to gift the collection and funds to construct a building for it to the US government.

Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley
Benjamin and Eleanor Ridgely Laming by Charles Willson Peale
Portrait of a Gentleman by Joseph Blackburn
Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan by Thomas Gainsborough
Madame du Barry by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
Madame d’Aguesseau de Fresnes by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

The building extant today stands on the former site of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, also the site of the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881, and which had been demolished in 1908.

The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries by Jacques-Louis David
Young Girl Reading by Jean Honoré Fragonard
Allegory of Painting by François Boucher
Allegory of Painting by François Boucher
Allegory of Music by François Boucher
The Bath of Venus by François Boucher
The Visit to the Nursery by Jean Honoré Fragonard

The museum was designed by John Russell Pope, and accepted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt upon its completion in 1941. It was the largest marble structure in the world at the time. Sadly, neither Pope nor Mellon lived to see the building completed, as both passed in 1937.

Soap Bubbles by Jean Siméon Chardin
The House of Cards by Jean Siméon Chardin
Soap Bubbles by Charles Amédée Philippe Van Loo
Madame Le Fèvre de Caumartin as Hebe by Jean-Marc Nattier
The Camera Obscura by Charles Amédée Philippe Van Loo
Roses by Vincent van Gogh
Roses by Vincent van Gogh

Mellon’s children, Paul and Ailsa, continued to fund expansions for the museum, and its East Building was completed in 1978 by I.M. Pei. It was opened by President Jimmy Carter in that same year.

The Riders by Edgar Degas
Four Dancers by Edgar Degas
Bather Arranging Her Hair by Auguste Renoir
A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son by Claude Monet
Little Girl in a Blue Armchair by Mary Cassatt
The Coronation of the Virgin by Master of the Washington Coronation
The Annunciation by Masolino da Panicale
Madonna and Child by Fra Filippo Lippi
Madonna and Child by Follower of Fra Filippo Lippi and Pesellino

The collection comprises works from European and American artists, covering a time period from the Medieval era to the present, and includes the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas.

Ginevra de’ Benci by Leonardo da Vinci
Madonna and Child by Vittore Carpaccio
Portrait of a Youth by Filippino Lippi
Ginevra Bentivoglio by Ercole de’ Roberti
Saint Florian by Francesco del Cossa
Saint Lucy by Francesco del Cossa
Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes by El Greco
Venus and Adonis by Titian
Four Seasons in One Head by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Portrait of a Man, possibly Jan Snoeck by Jan Gossaert
Landscape with the Flight into Egypt by Roelandt Savery
Daniel in the Lions’ Den by Peter Paul Rubens
Self-Portrait by Judith Leyster
Woman Holding a Balance by Johannes Vermeer
Agrippina and Germanicus by Peter Paul Rubens
Isoult by Edward McCartan
Diana and a Hound by Paul Manship
Diana of the Tower by Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Atalanta by Paul Manship
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Edgar Degas

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