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Philadelphia Museum of Art

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In Philadelphia, one of the most recognized buildings is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In fact, it is considered as one of the biggest and significant art museums in the US. It is located at the “west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.” More so, it was built on the year 1876 to coincide with the celebration of the Centennial Exposition. By 1877, the museum was opened to the public. Furthermore, the new building was erected in 1919 at the “former reservoir land of the decommisioned Fairmount Water Works.

” It was in 1928 that the first part of the building was finished. “Horace Trumbauer and the firm of Zantzinger, Borie and Medary” were responsible for the “quasi-Greek Revival design” of the building (Essential-architecture.com).

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The architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art was greatly influenced by the Greek and Roman style. Its exterior resembles a Greek temple while its size shows “massive Roman proportions.” Made from Minnesota dolomite with glazed blue roof tiles embellished with polychrome finials and pediments,” this enormous infrastructure spans to 10 acres of land with around 200 galleries wherein a wide variety of artworks ranging from paintings, to sculptures to historical artifacts are displayed.


One of the interesting parts of the design of the museum is the “group of polychrome terracotta sculptures in the tympanum of the pediment on the North Wing, which was designed by sculptor C. Paul Jennewein and installed in 1933.” This indicated that the museum was the first to utilize polychromy again after 2,000 years. The tympanum is comprised of 10 free-standing statues of various “Greek gods and goddesses” that represented sanctified and improper love. The grandiose tympanum measures to about 70 feet wide and 12 feet high. This element of the museum showcased exuberance and splendor of art. The architecture of the Philadelphia Museum of Art helped in conveying to the public the beauty and significance of art to society (Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Works Cited

  1. “Philadelphia Museum of Art.” N.d. Essential-architecture.com. 30 March 2009 <http://www.american-architecture.info/USA/USA-Northeast/NT-002.htm>
  2. “The Museum Building.” 2009. Philadelphia Museum of Art. 30 March 2009 <http://www.philamuseum.org/information/45-229-25.html>

Cite this Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art. (2016, Jul 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/philadelphia-museum-of-art/

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