Philly’s Very Own.

“You’re driving all the way to New Jersey… tonight… for a birthday party?” my co-worker stammered and stared at me incredulously. She, obviously, is not a reader of The Open Road Ahead! With an invitation to attend a dear friend’s birthday celebration Saturday night, I pointed the Accord southbound after work Friday and settled into a six hour drive to my home state, leaving Massachusetts in my rear view mirror. Aside from taking my car to my favorite Honda dealer for routine maintenance Saturday morning, I had nothing on my schedule until the party in the evening, so I decided to spend my afternoon the best way I know how: exploring another site for this blog!

Originally chartered in 1876 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has existed in its current iconic location along the Schuylkill River since 1928. Planning began in 1895, with designs being finalized in 1919. One of the lead designers, Julian Abele, was the first African-American graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Architecture. Owing to a shortage of material after World War I, the building was not completed until 1928 (via Wikipedia). A world-famous art museum that hosts over 700,000 visitors each year, the museum is also well-known for the famous scene in the movie Rocky when Sylvester Stallone’s character runs up the museum steps during his training. I spent a wonderful afternoon visiting the museum, although its sheer size means it is impossible to see everything in only one trip. Instead, I thought I would share some of the exhibits that caught my eye.

Sunset view along I-95 in Connecticut.
The ride home was uneventful and surprisingly light on traffic. This sunset in Connecticut wasn’t bad either.
View of the new Tappan Zee bridge at dusk.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge is open! The old “Hold Your Breath” bridge is still used for eastbound traffic, but vehicles heading west get to use the new span.
2012 Honda Accord coupe in the Honda dealership parking lot.
An early Saturday morning visit to my local Honda dealer for an oil change, tire rotation, new transmission fluid, and new brake fluid. Despite being told when I scheduled my appointment earlier in the week that they were overbooked for Saturday, I was on the road again after only 90 minutes.
Inspection report for vehicle.
“Your car is in phenomenal shape. It still looks new!” my service advisor told me. Everything checked out, and 90,000 miles is in view.
Outside of Nan Zhou hand-drawn noodle house.
Stopping for lunch at one of my favorite spots in Philly!
Map of Philadelphia with a pin in the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Another destination reached for this blog!
Outside front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
On a beautiful summer day, so many tourists were re-enacting the Rocky scene! The gentleman in the red shirt on the right, who spoke very limited English, asked me to take his picture as he re-enacted the scene… he even did the little circular run at the top like Rocky. I was happy to oblige.
View of fountain and museum.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, in all its glory.
Great Stair Hall in the Museum of Art
The Great Stair Hall.
The Constantine Tapestries.
On the balcony of the Great Stair Hall hang the Constantine Tapestries, designed by the artist Rubens in 1622. They tell the story Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.
Suits of armor.
The second floor has a gallery of arms and armor from medieval Europe.
Armored knight on an armored horse.
The armor for this knight and his horse dates between 1485-1505 and was created by Matthes Deutsch, a German.
Collection of swords hanging on a wall display.
16th century swords and daggers from Saxony, in what is now eastern Germany. The display reminded me of something you would see in the TV show Game of Thrones.
Arched entrance from a 12th century convent.
This arched entrance is from the ruins of an abandoned convent in France. Several rooms on the second floor contain sections of churches, monasteries, and convents from Europe.
Italian Renaissance paintings and Tapestries.
Paintings and tapestries from the Italian Renaissance. The painting in the foreground dates to around 1520.
Statues from the Madana Gopala Swamy temple.
These statues are from the Madana Gopala Swamy temple to the Hindu god Vishnu, which was located in the city of Madurai in India.
Chinese palace reception hall.
A reception hall from the 1640s, originally located in Beijing, China. Used by a nobleman during the Ming dynasty, this entire room was shipped to Philadelphia in 1929.
Japanese Buddhist temple and garden.
A Buddhist temple and a tea house were shipped from Japan and installed on the second floor.
Japanese Buddhist temple. A statue of Buddha is in the middle of the room.
Temple of the Attainment of Happiness from Nara, Japan, originally built in 1398. It was brought to the museum in 1928, after the temple was slated to be replaced.
Scrolls of paper with Korean writing, with yellow and black borders.
New and ancient: this modern Korean art weaves the ancient writings of Confucius into new scrolls. The colors represent the five elements of East Asian cosmology.
Collection of paintings of the Dutch masters.
On to more traditional fare… these paintings by the Dutch masters were terrific. The rather macabre still life on the bottom left caught my eye.
Prometheus Bound. An eagle tears at Prometheus as he is bound to a rock.
Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “Prometheus Bound” (1618). One of the highlights of the museum, the painting depicts Prometheus chained to a rock and having an eagle tear at his flesh for all eternity… the punishment for Prometheus having stolen fire from the gods and given it to the human race.
Wood paneled room from the Red Lodge in Kent, England.
How the wealthy lived in England in 1529. This room is from the Red Lodge in Kent, England.
Opulent room with furnishings from 16th century France.
How the wealthy lived, part II. If you think this room is from Paris, you would be wrong. It’s from a New York City apartment in the 1920’s. However, some of the furnishings are from France. For instance, the rug was once owned by King Louis XIV.
Photo gallery by photographer Michael Nichols. Two photographs hang on the wall in the foreground.
On the first floor is a special exhibition of the works of photographer Michael Nichols. A photojournalist who specializes in humanity’s relationship with nature, this gallery alone is worth the price of admission to the museum. The exhibit only runs through September 17 of this year, so I would strongly urge you to go this week, if you are in the area.
Series of Monet paintings hanging on the wall.
These paintings by Monet can be found on the first floor. Of course I had to stop by the Impressionism rooms… my Mom would have probably disowned me if I had skipped them.
Two paintings by Van Gogh hanging on the wall.
Two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. Every time I see his work, his brilliance as a painter continues to amaze me. The painting on the right, “Rain,” is stunning in real life. My photo can’t possibly do it justice.
2012 Honda Accord in front of the museum.
And of course, a photo of DH in front of the west entrance.

Before I close this post, I thought it would be appropriate to include a clip from the movie Rocky, which featured his training montage and his famous run up the steps of the Art Museum. For your enjoyment:

The Philadelphia Museum of Art was a wonderful destination in the middle of a busy weekend. The museum is open year-round from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (although the museum is also open until 8:45 pm on Wednesday and Friday). Ticket prices are: adults are $20, seniors 65+ are $18, students are $14, youth ages 13-18 are $14, and children ages 12 and under can enter for free. Come to the museum to check out world famous art, reenact your own Rocky run, or better yet, do both! Thanks for coming along on another journey down The Open Road Ahead!

‘Til next time.

5 thoughts on “Philly’s Very Own.

  1. Fascinating and beautiful. I wish I would have taken the time to explore it when I lived nearby. If you haven’t already, you should visit the Please Touch Museum in the Centennial Building at Fairmount Park.

    Liked by 1 person

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