The Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, Virginia.
A Fine Place to Visit
By Annette Bartlett-Golden
While visiting family in Richmond, Virginia this month, I made sure to also visit my favorite place in the city, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. I love the space and light in the building which has three floors plus a café and restaurant, gift shop, theater and special exhibition galleries. Most importantly, the museum has an exceptional collection of art that ranges from ancient to modern times, and encompasses many cultures and movements.
When I visit an art museum, I like to choose just one or two areas to see because I enjoy taking my time wandering through the galleries and savoring the paintings. On this occasion, since I have been reading about modernist artists of the mid-1800s to the First World War, I decided to see the McGlothlin Collection of American Art. In this collection you are invited to “Encounter broad themes, including Westward the Course of Empire: American Landscape, The Gilded Age of Realism and Impressionism, and All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Modernism,” states the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s website.
Yachting the Mediterranean painted in 1896 by American artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart.
One of my favorite paintings was by the American artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart (1855 – 1919) called Yachting the Mediterranean. This is a large, vibrant wall-sized canvas depicting a group of holidaymakers aboard a sailing yacht. Four ladies in long gowns of the period, a couple gentlemen, and a sailor mill around the decks as the yacht glides through frothy waves on a fine day. What struck me about this painting was the tilt of the yacht, the feeling that you are there too, perhaps looking down from a sail, and the marvelous vibrancy of the colors that seem to glow. The blue of the sea especially caught my attention.
In front of the reflecting pool at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.
The sun was beginning to set when I stepped outside after my visit, bathing the granite walls of the building in a rosy light. Behind the museum, a reflecting pool glittered. To the right, a green slope rose to a rooftop garden, all part of the parking deck where I’d left my car! The grounds are definitely part of the museum’s charm and a lot of fun, too. To top it off, there is no fee to visit the museum’s collections.
The next time you’re in Richmond, enjoy a visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. Check out the museum’s website at: vmfa.museum.
The green slope leading to a rooftop garden on the museum parking deck.
Annette Bartlett-Golden paints a wide range of subjects from landscapes to animals and makes abstract works with paper. Using vibrant colors, she imparts a sense of immediacy, vivacity and optimism to her paintings and paper collages.