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Tours of the National Gallery of Art offers a different view of religious art

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Have you ever wondered about the background of religious art? A tour, offered through Adventures for Creative Tourists, brings focus to the religious art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

The tour began as an option to mark Palm Sunday this year. Up to 30 people can take each tour. Particular attention is paid to artworks that either epitomize an artist, a style or technique. The history of religious art is the history of European art. Both were explored on the tour. The tour focuses on Christian art with 75 percent of the artists identifying as Catholic.

The tour guide, Meghan Hanson, studied anthropology, museum studies and art history at Indiana University. She attended a private Lutheran school from kindergarten to 10th grade, which inspired her fascination of the overlap between culture and religion.

The two-hour tour was enhanced byHanson sharing images of the paintings that were exposed to light, showing the changes the paintings have undergone in restoration.

Certain subjects are explored in numerous pieces, including the Holy Family, the saints and parables.

You can see several pieces by the masters — “The Adoration of the Magi” by Sandro Botticelli; “The Apostle Paul” by Rembrandt van Rijn and Workshop; and “The Alba Madonna” by Raphael.

The artistic mediums included paintings, wooden statues, a tall and ornate Florentine ciborium, a shield and stained-glass windows. Hanson said the materials used in the paintings include gold and leather punches.

“A lot of these were a form of worship or an offering, so the artists wanted to make sure they were using the best materials,” she said.

If you are looking for a chance to get out of the rain or escape the heat of summer, check out a religious arts tour.

If you go


Go to adventuresforcreativetourists.com, call 202/294-4265 or email advencreative@outlook.com.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018