In the center of the building on the main floor is a huge rotunda, with tall vaulted ceiling and large round fountain in the center:
N & I took a tour to start with, as we were a more than a little bewildered by it all. The docent took us hither and yon, showing us about 10 or 12 works only, but discussing them at length. Actually I was hoping more for a broad overview of the museum, to help us find our way around; but it was very interesting.
Here is a pic from the Chinese porcelain room. The docent was rather contemptuous of it --- it seems the museum was reluctant to display the porcelain, but had to because it was part of the terms of acquiring a lot of master works they wanted very badly. Actually I thought the porcelain was beautiful.
Maybe some day critical judgments will swing around and it will be appreciated (ha):
And here is a very old chalice. I forget exactly what it is and why it is so important... but it's a beautiful thing, isn't it?
Here is one of Degas' little ballet dancer statues (or maybe it is his only one, I'm not sure). I snapped it hurriedly as we followed the docent through some sculpture galleries, but never got a chance to go back and look at it closer. There's just too much to look at everything as well as you'd like.
And last but not least here are 4 paintings by Vermeer. I was very much surprised to see how SMALL they are --- he must have painted them with very small brushes.
And this was the highlight of the tour and the prize masterpiece of the museum: Leonardo da Vinci's Ginevra. It is the only painting by da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere, and the NGA is very proud of it. It is a very lovely thing...
You can see all these paintings, of course, and read about them, online. Just google "National Gallery of Art". I think you can even download printable images from the NGA somewhere on their site --- all these paintings are in the public domain.