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Westminster Abbey & National Gallery


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Westminster Abbey & National Gallery

Westminster Abbey, the most famous church in Great Britain, enshrining many of the traditions of the British people. Located in London and officially known as the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter in Westminster, it was 434i81e built in stages between the 11th and 19th centuries and comprises the main church plus chapels, cloister, chapter house, and towers. Construction was begun by the English king Edward the Confessor in 1050, on the site of an older Romanesque church, and the abbey was rebuilt in its present Gothic style starting in 1245. French influence is apparent in the height (31 m/102 ft) and soaring verticality of the nave, and particularly fine Gothic fan vaulting is found in the Henry VII Chapel.

English monarchs since William the Conqueror in 1066 have been crowned in the abbey, and many from Edward's time until 1760 (George II) are buried in its chapels. The tombs of famous citizens-among them the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, the physicist Isaac Newton, and the naturalist Charles Darwin-are located in the main church of the abbey. The abbey also contains monuments to prominent political figures and, in the four bays and aisles comprising the Poets' Corner, tributes to Shakespeare and other outstanding literary personages.

National Gallery of Art, art museum, in Washington, D.C. Although originally designated as a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art is an autonomous and separately-administered organization. Established in 1937 by a Joint Resolution of the Congress of the United States and a gift of funds and works of art by the American financier and statesman Andrew W. Mellon, the gallery houses one of the world's finest collections of Western European and American art from the 13th through the 20th century. Today the gallery's collection includes more than 91,000 works of art, including many masterpieces, such as Ginevra de' Benci, the only painting by the Italian master Leonardo da Vinci housed in the western hemisphere, and Family of Saltimbanques by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.


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