Sunday, July 29, 2007

View from the Temple of Invention

We began our trip in DC at the National Portrait Gallery's Portico Cafe high above 8th Street. The building was originally the Patent Office, the country's "Temple of Invention", and contained government offices and a museum. The view is very strange to me, as the neighborhood has changed so much since I lived in an apartment just visible in the photo. The museum itself has recently undergone a six-year renovation.

The eye portrait in the photo is from a work by David Beck the Gallery commissioned to celebrate the reopening. It is called MVSEVM and it is a kind of fold-out dollhouse museum/jewelry box in one. (For a more academic description and photos see page 12.) I was so excited to see an entire section devoted to eye portraits! There are tiny drawers of specimens, walls of miniature portraits, and a small room of natural history treasures. We stood around it looking in and then as if by wishing, we entered it a week later when we visited the Natural History Museum in Vienna!

No comments: