A visit to the Art museum of Philadelphia.

Like Philadelphia’s own Parthenon, the Philadelphia Museum of Art sits majestically on a rise at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The vast collections of this temple of art make it the third-largest art museum in the country, and an absolute must-see on the city’s cultural circuit.

Founded during the nation’s first centennial in 1876 as a museum of decorative arts, the Museum soon outgrew its quarters in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall. Its new building, in the form of three linked Greek temples, opened in 1928. Julian Abele, the chief designer and the first African-American graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture school, was inspired by the temples he saw while traveling in Greece.

Highlights of the Asian collections include paintings and sculpture from China, Japan, and India; furniture and decorative arts, including major collections of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ceramics; a large and distinguished group of Persian and Turkish carpets; and rare and authentic architectural assemblages such as a Chinese palace hall, a Japanese teahouse, and a sixteenth-century Indian temple hall.

The European collections, dating from the medieval era to the present, encompass Italian and Flemish early Renaissance masterworks, strong representations of later European paintings, including French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, sculpture, with a special concentration in the works of Auguste Rodin, decorative arts, tapestries, furniture, the second largest collection of arms and armor in the United States, and period rooms and architectural settings ranging from the facade of a medieval church in Burgundy to a superbly decorated English drawing room by Robert Adam.

The museum’s American collections, surveying more than three centuries of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, are among the finest in the United States, with outstanding strengths in 18th- and 19th-century Philadelphia furniture and silver, Pennsylvania German art, rural Pennsylvania furniture and ceramics, and the paintings of Thomas Eakins. The museum houses the most important Eakins collection in the world.

Modern artwork includes works by Pablo Picasso, Jean Metzinger, Antonio Rotta, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dalí and Constantin Brâncuși, as well as American modernists. The expanding collection of contemporary art includes major works by Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, and Sol LeWitt, among many others.

The museum houses encyclopedic holdings of costume and textiles, as well as prints, drawings, and photographs that are displayed in rotation for reasons of preservation.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s