I was in Washington, D.C. a couple of weekends ago with an old AP Art History/Humanities student of mine to go museum hopping and as you can image we ran into a few of the pieces from the AP Art History 250 curriculum. So excited to share some of our *unexpected* finds!
Migration Series, Jacob Lawrence
Panel no. 49 was not on display the day we went but a few other notable pieces were there. The Phillips Collection owns the whole series and it seems that they rotate out the various panels randomly. It was very powerful to see them in person especially in a room full of other African-American art, like Kara Walker. The juxtaposition created a nice dialogue of African-American struggles throughout the past century.
George Washington, Jean-Antoine Houdon (Bronze version)
The original from the 250 is actually in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (which I accidentally missed while on a family trip…); however we stumbled upon a bronze copy of the exact statue while roaming around Embassy Row near Dupont Circle. It took us a couple of seconds going “No, that can’t be it?” “Wait, that’s it.” “Let’s cross the street to get a better look.” And then ending in giddy laughter. And even more serendipitous, the statue was outside the Society of the Cincinnati, which was founded in 1783 by 6,000 officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts. I learned all about this society from a random man on the sidewalk that was a hereditary member and attending a party that evening inside!
Vietnam Memorial, Maya Lin
This piece is kinda hard to miss, especially if you are doing the “monuments” round. It was especially touching while we were there because there were families placing flags for their dearly departed and there were some information papers left around with short biographies of the fallen left by loved ones. I read one of the papers that talked about the high school this soldier went to, the names of his parents, and wife. It makes these names come to life when you can learn about their background.
Woman Holding a Balance, Johannes Vermeer
This painting was part of the show Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry at the National Gallery of Art and really THE reason I was in D.C. The whole show was fantastic (Vermeer is my favorite artist) but it was especially rewarding to see Woman Holding a Balance because it was not on display when I was in D.C. this past summer.
Ok so you can argue I didn’t see “the” jade cong from the 250 but with Prehistoric art I am less picky. Here is a collection of jade congs from the Freer-Sackler Galleries. This museum was such an unexpected delight, I am definitely warming up to Asian art now that I teach AP World History.