With the hope of finding priceless artifacts from ancient civilizations, or the drive to unlock hidden treasures, explorers have traveled around, beneath, above, and even beyond our world. Sailing across uncharted miles of ocean, plunging deep within its depths to the vast, dark abyss below, or taking flight into the atmosphere above, dedicated men and women have sought to expand their horizons. In doing so, each new generation adds to the treasure trove of past findings, providing a vast amount of knowledge and experience for the next generation to build upon.
As intriguing as the life of an explorer may sound, when it comes to discovering great treasures in art, you don’t have to be Indiana Jones to make some incredible finds.
I was reminded of this during a recent trip to Washington D.C., while delivering a couple of commissioned portraits to a client. Along the way, I had the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Art and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. As an artist, I would classify each of these museums as a national treasure, each housing a wide variety of some of the best representational art available, just waiting to be discovered. If you’re ever traveling through Washington, D.C., I would highly recommend stopping at one or more of these museums. By doing so, you may find yourself gaining a greater appreciation for the rich artistic heritage that’s been handed down through the centuries, as well as making a few discoveries of your own along the way.
Here are a few of my favorite paintings by John Singer Sargent from the National Gallery of Art.
Here are some paintings by John Singer Sargent from the National Portrait Gallery.
There’s an entire section of paintings that are housed behind glass enclosures which allows more of an up close, eye level view, including some by Frank Duveneck and Cecilia Beaux.
So, whether you’re traveling to distant locations to visit the great museums of the world, or just around the corner in your own hometown, be on the lookout for the next undiscovered treasure that will help to inspire and motivate you to expand your own artistic horizons.