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Release Date: October 19, 2007

Popular Ice Skating Rink in National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Opens in Mid-November for Ninth Consecutive Year

Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art is celebrating the 2007 holiday season with free programs that include caroling, gallery talks, concerts, and a special lecture, The Young Velázquez, and a Rediscovered Altarpiece, as well as an online feature, ice-skating, and festive holiday decorations.

Rotunda Decorations

Beginning Monday, December 3, hundreds of red and white poinsettias, an abundance of amaryllis plants, and twelve Christmas trees adorned with sparkling white lights will be installed in the grand West Building Rotunda and Garden Courts, giving the main floor of the West Building a holiday look and a festive atmosphere.

Permanent Collection and Gallery Talk

Reading the Christmas Story in Art, a 50-minute discussion about paintings in the permanent collection with holiday themes that tell the Christian story of the birth of Jesus, will be led by Gallery lecturer Philip Leonard on November 22, 23, 27, and 30, and on December 1, 4, 6, 11, 13, and 24 at 1:00 p.m. in the West Building Rotunda. Bernardino Luini's The Madonna of the Carnation (c. 1480-1532), one of this year's U.S. Postal Service holiday stamps, is included in the tour. Additional information is available at

Caroling in the West Building Rotunda

Caroling in the seasonally decorated West Building Rotunda has become a favorite family activity during the holiday season at the Gallery. Visitors are invited to sing along with guest choirs and ensembles at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. on December 15, 16, 22, and 23. Singers and listeners of all ages are welcome. Groups participating this year include:

December 15
J.E.B. Stuart High School, Falls Church, VA

December 16
Friday Morning Music Club Chorale, Washington, DC

December 22
Gaithersburg Community Chorus, Gaithersburg, MD

December 23
Heritage Chorale, Washington, DC

Holiday Concerts

Concerts, offered on Sundays in the West Building, West Garden Court, or the East Building, are free to the public. Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. (unless noted otherwise) and end at approximately 8:00 p.m. Audiences are admitted on a first-come, first-seated basis starting at 6:00 p.m. The Garden Café, located in the West Building, remains open until 6:00 p.m.

The Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW entrance to the West Building and the Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW entrance to the East Building remain open until 6:30 p.m. No entry or re-entry to either building is permitted after 6:30. For a full concert listing, visit or call (202) 842-6941. This year’s participants include:

December 9
National Gallery Orchestra, with guest conductor Bjarte Engeset
and soprano soloist Isa Katharina Gerike. Presented in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Embassy and in connection with the Norwegian Christmas Festival
(West Building, West Garden Court)

December 16
Leipzig String Quartet, Beethoven Birthday Celebration. Presented in cooperation with the Embassy of Germany and the Embassy Series (East Building Auditorium)

December 23
Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play, holiday jazz, folk, and blues concert (West Building, West Garden Court)

December 30
National Gallery Orchestra, with guest conductor José Serebrier
and soprano soloist Carol Farley
New Year Viennese Concert (West Building, West Garden Court)

Web Feature

Visitors to the Gallery’s Web site may view a streaming slideshow and listen to audio by Gallery director Earl A. Powell III in a feature that explores The Adoration of the Magi (c. 1440/1460), a complex and colorful work from Renaissance Florence. Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi created the masterpiece that tells the story of the three kings bringing gifts to the Christ Child twelve days after his birth. The online slideshow at also allows the viewer to examine details of the work while listening to a narrative.


During the month of December, special refreshments—mulled cider, cocoa, and holiday sweets with an international flavor—can be purchased in the Espresso and Gelato Bar in the East Building Concourse and in the Sculpture Garden Pavilion Café. The Espresso and Gelato Bar will offer exciting holiday flavors of gelato and sorbetto, including apple cider, pumpkin, caramel apple, and peppermint candy cane.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Press Release

2007 Holiday Season