The main centerpiece, of course, was Rembrandt's "Self Portrait, 1659" on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Velvet ropes set 5 feet back from the wall made it frustratingly difficult to lean in and study the subtleties of this masterpiece. I'll bet security guards hate encountering the artists in the crowds, always wanting to examine the brushstrokes!
Rodin is given premier placement, for the NCMA holds the largest collection of his sculpture outside of New York and California, but the galleries surrounding the sculpture court are filled with all kinds of treasures, from the monumental 17th century formal portraits by van Dyke to a small gem of a painting by Sargent we had never seen before. In the end, we were pressed for time (Rembrandt called!) and didn't get to see the ancient art collection. Something to look forward to for our next visit.
We weren't allowed to photograph the Rembrandts, but other pictures from our visit to the North Carolina Museum of Art are available on Charles Facebook page.