Art, Art History, and the Pleasures of the Visual World
Thursday, August 13, 2009
At some point I'll post about the cross-country train ride that got me from California to Philadelphia, but I'm anxious to begin showing off what's going on here. Philadelphia is surprisingly quiet about what it has to offer, it seems, but I hope I can help remedy that! Lots to come on contemporary art - galleries, artists, exhibits, etc., plus the Barnes Collection - but first a note about a recent visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If you haven't been there you've missed one of the true world class museums in this country. The building, and the site, are both wonders. Like a majestic Super-Parthenon the Museum sits on a rise about the Schuylkill River with the City in the distance, commanding everything around it; in one pediment is a reproduction of a Greek sculptural program, so authentic in intent that the gods and goddesses are brightly painted, as was the case in Ancient Greece. The reds, blues, and yellows look pretty goofy now, but it's great to be able to see what it must have been like back then! One post can't do justice to the collection, but it is deep, and broad, and very satisfying, with enormous strength in Eastern art as well as Western art of most periods. I was thrilled to discover works I didn't realize or had forgotten were here, and to stumble on many superb surprises including a wonderful room of Cy Twombley paintings - that's coming up next! Here's a taste of Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso in Philadelphia .