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Philadelphia Museum of Art | Our Story

Sitting atop some very famous steps, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

Our facilities include our landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. We welcome you to enjoy a variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.
Forget Throwback Thursday—today is Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the final meal Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion. One of the most represented biblical events in art history, the Last Supper is the scene in which Jesus predicts his betrayal and Peter’s denial, and is also the scriptural source for the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.See other versions of the Last Supper in our collection.“The Last Supper,“1578, by Cornelis Cort (after Livio Agresti)

Forget Throwback Thursday—today is Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the final meal Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion. One of the most represented biblical events in art history, the Last Supper is the scene in which Jesus predicts his betrayal and Peter’s denial, and is also the scriptural source for the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.

See other versions of the Last Supper in our collection.

The Last Supper,“1578, by Cornelis Cort (after Livio Agresti)

Celebrate the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare next Wednesday, and get a sneak preview of our Summer of Shakespeare! Decorate your neck by making a ruff. Check out a sword-fight performance by Revolution Shakespeare. Oh, yes—there will be cake!“Night Battle” (plate from William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV”), 1785, by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki

Celebrate the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare next Wednesday, and get a sneak preview of our Summer of Shakespeare! Decorate your neck by making a ruff. Check out a sword-fight performance by Revolution Shakespeare. Oh, yes—there will be cake!

Night Battle” (plate from William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV”), 1785, by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki

A very happy birthday to John Chamberlain, born on this day in 1927. Chamberlain was a remarkable sculptor who combined the worlds of painting and poetry in his sculptures made of discarded sheet metal. In this piece, he sandblasted the metal to achieve the bright colors, and then fitted the large, twisted sheets together. “Glossalia Adagio,” 1984, by John Chamberlain (© John Chamberlain/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

A very happy birthday to John Chamberlain, born on this day in 1927. Chamberlain was a remarkable sculptor who combined the worlds of painting and poetry in his sculptures made of discarded sheet metal. In this piece, he sandblasted the metal to achieve the bright colors, and then fitted the large, twisted sheets together.

Glossalia Adagio,” 1984, by John Chamberlain (© John Chamberlain/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Staff Pick: The history of nude sculptures in America is a complex one. Victorian-era Americans clung to their deep Puritan roots well into the 1800s, essentially requiring artists to provide explicit written explanations on how to interpret nude statues in a moral and chaste way. Hiram Powers, keenly aware of the strict social mores of his audience, did just that when he introduced his famous sculpture, “The Greek Slave,” in 1844. Here you see a bust of the original full-bodied work carved in white marble; this medium, preferred for nude sculptures at the time, disallowed for indecent thoughts and ultimately promoted two female ideas: purity and virginity. An account of Turkish slavery during warfare, the statue also communicates Powers’s powerful feminist and abolitionist ideals during a time when gender inequality still plagued American society.”Bust of ‘The Greek Slave,’ ” 1846–73, by Hiram PowersSee more of Powers’s work here.

Staff Pick:

The history of nude sculptures in America is a complex one. Victorian-era Americans clung to their deep Puritan roots well into the 1800s, essentially requiring artists to provide explicit written explanations on how to interpret nude statues in a moral and chaste way. Hiram Powers, keenly aware of the strict social mores of his audience, did just that when he introduced his famous sculpture, “The Greek Slave,” in 1844.

Here you see a bust of the original full-bodied work carved in white marble; this medium, preferred for nude sculptures at the time, disallowed for indecent thoughts and ultimately promoted two female ideas: purity and virginity. An account of Turkish slavery during warfare, the statue also communicates Powers’s powerful feminist and abolitionist ideals during a time when gender inequality still plagued American society.

Bust of ‘The Greek Slave,’ ” 1846–73, by Hiram Powers


See more of Powers’s work here.

Happy birthday to Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), patriarch of the highly artistic Peale family. Full of American playfulness, this trompe l’oeil‬ (French for “deceive the eye”) shows two of the artist’s sons, Raphaelle and Titian, heading up to the family’s attic to scratch their creative itch. Raphael holds a palette, brushes, and mahlstick as he looks back out of the real wooden doorway. Charles Willson Peale purportedly did such a great job that he even pulled the wool over the eyes of his friend George Washington, who tipped his hat hello at the youngsters during a visit to the home.You can stop by and meet the boys in gallery 107, in our American Art wing.”Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale I)" 1795, by Charles Willson PealeSee more of Charles Willson Peale’s work here.

Happy birthday to Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), patriarch of the highly artistic Peale family. Full of American playfulness, this trompe l’oeil‬ (French for “deceive the eye”) shows two of the artist’s sons, Raphaelle and Titian, heading up to the family’s attic to scratch their creative itch. Raphael holds a palette, brushes, and mahlstick as he looks back out of the real wooden doorway. Charles Willson Peale purportedly did such a great job that he even pulled the wool over the eyes of his friend George Washington, who tipped his hat hello at the youngsters during a visit to the home.

You can stop by and meet the boys in gallery 107, in our American Art wing.

Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale I)" 1795, by Charles Willson Peale

See more of Charles Willson Peale’s work here.

Happy birthday to Leonardo da Vinci, whose famed “Mona Lisa” inspired Patrick Kelly’s Spring/Summer 1989 collection. In 1988, Kelly became the first American and the first black designer to be elected into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, which allowed him to present his ready-to-wear collections at the Louvre. His line was a spirited evocation of all his favorite Lisas, including this otherworldly “Moona Lisa.” “Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love" opens April 27."Woman’s Evening Dress," Spring/Summer 1989, designed by Patrick Kelly (Promised gift of Bjorn Guil Amelan and Bill T. Jones)

Happy birthday to Leonardo da Vinci, whose famed “Mona Lisa” inspired Patrick Kelly’s Spring/Summer 1989 collection. In 1988, Kelly became the first American and the first black designer to be elected into the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, which allowed him to present his ready-to-wear collections at the Louvre. His line was a spirited evocation of all his favorite Lisas, including this otherworldly “Moona Lisa.”

Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love" opens April 27.

"Woman’s Evening Dress," Spring/Summer 1989, designed by Patrick Kelly (Promised gift of Bjorn Guil Amelan and Bill T. Jones)

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More Art Monday: Easter

Hippity-hop, Easter’s on its way! What do you have planned for this spring holiday?

The Return of the Flock, Laren,” c. 1886-87¸ Anton Mauve, Dutch

Easter Egg Box,” 1800-1850, Artist/maker unknown, American, Pennsylvania German

Woman’s Hat and Hat Pin,” c. 1960, Sold by Nan Duskin, Philadelphia, 1926 – 1994, Possibly made in United States, North and Central America

Rabbit with Nodding Head,” 19th century, Artist/maker unknown, American

Bunny Multiplication, From the Philadelphia Invitational Portfolio 2001” 2001, Virgil Marti, American, Printed by Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints, Philadelphia. Published by Philagrafika.

Decorated Egg,” 1900-1950, Artist/maker unknown, American, Pennsylvania German

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Daenerys’s dragons: cheer or fear? Dragons in Western culture are often depicted as an evil to destroy, while in Eastern art, they are guardians and a source of power. Who are you rooting for?

Film still from “Game of Thrones”

Bodhisattva Riding a Dragon,” early 20th century, Myanmar (Burma) or Tibet

Hercules Slaying the Dragon of the Hesperides,” date unknown, by Cornelis Cort (1533–1578)

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