Ever the tourist, a free hour in my day means a trip to the National Mall when I am at home. The National Gallery of Art is one of my favorite spots for inspiration, serenity and learning something new. Their mobile app for touring is one of the best in the museum world. You can download from the app store. Last week I joined a new exceptional tour they have just introduced: “Glimpses of 17th Century Life” led by the amazing scholar and docent, Sandra Horowitz. My mission was twofold. In addition to learning something new about the collection, I was hoping to test out my new Nokia Lumia Icon camera’s ability to capture the nuances of the greatest artists. I now am writing this post using my new Nokia Lumia Windows tablet. So the whole exercise could have been taxing for this Apple fan, but as they say-I am now a fan. So what follows are examples of the highlights of my tour, created using a Windows tablet.

All of the photos were taken with the Nokia Icon 20 MP camera. You can judge how this compares to the ubiquitous iPhone photos on blog posts. I am amazed.

Typical of what we expect from 17th century art is this amazing “Still Life with Figs and Bread” by Luis Melendez, c. 1770. It practically jumps off the canvas and with this camera, the page. You can almost hear the crunch of the bread crust.

Travel throughout the Netherlands in the 17th century was primarily by boat-for people and animals. This painting by Salomon Van Ruysdael “River Landscape with Ferry”, Dutch 1649,  shows the mingling of all classes, evident from the dress .  A warm scene of everyday life that one rarely finds in paintings from earlier periods.

And this highlight from “The Interior of Oude Kerk, Amsterdam” by Emmanuel De Witte, 1660/1665, speaks to the role of organized religion in their everyday life.  The large cathedrals and churches had been whitewashed to hide religious symbols, but they were also used a meeting places for people and here , animals.  The raised flagstone makes it appear a burial is about to take place so the church was also still used for religious functions by this Protestant society.  Again, I could never have captured this very small detail without an exceptional camera.

Finally, when most of us think of 17th Dutch art we think of this:

“Banquet Piece with Mince Pie” by Willem Claesz Heda, Dutch 1635. So many theories can be created about this hastily ended feast at an obviously wealthy household. I like to think the message is life is short (from the snuffed out candle) and accumulation of things will be irrelevant. But you can draw your own conclusions, perhaps more optimistic?  What I do want to end with is several amazing close ups of this painting taken with my new Nokia Icon—particularly the one showing Heda’s signature on the tablecloth.

I am totally sold on my new Nokia products, the camera takes fabulous pictures and combining that with the Nokia Lumia tablet makes creating blog posts easier than any method I have ever tried. I have typed the copy on the optional keyboard, but then added pictures with a few quick taps on the screen. Amazing if you have ever tried to  add media within WordPress. They work beautifully together and I now think I have to buy a Windows laptop to complete my new suite. Additionally, connecting Word on my tablet with my WordPress website took only 2 minutes. It was beyond intuitive and offers the tools that most writers and bloggers need. One qualification I would add is that while the camera is much superior to my iPhone 5, the zoom function is not as good as my Samsung Galaxy camera, but the functionality of combining the Nokia products for ease of transfer may just make me stand a little closer to my subjects and zoom a little less.

I will be posting more about both the Nokia Lumia Icon camera and Tablet and the way they speak to each other and to me! As I note on my website, I have been invited by Verizon to be a “Lifestyle Blogger” and as such they send me new products to review. I am under no obligation to offer positive reviews and they are interested in how these products work into my daily life. Many of my fellow “Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers” are much more technologically literate than I, which makes the ease with which I have navigated and learned both these Nokia products all the more amazing!  Thanks for taking my tour of the 17th century at the National Gallery of Art with me.  More to come!

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