Paintings Of The Day: The Philadelphia Museum of Art

There are more reasons to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art than just the impressive architecture:

philadelphia museum of art

Or the famous Rocky statue:

rocky statue

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is also home to an impressive collection of paintings (among other forms of art). Below are some of the paintings within the collection…



Sir Edwin Landseer

After a severe nervous breakdown in 1840, Landseer was determined to avoid the pressures of continuous commissions and paint entirely for himself. Allowing his imagination free range, he repeatedly depicted the heroic stag, noble but inevitably doomed, a symbol of the tragic forces of nature. Night records a nocturnal battle between two stags and Morning its fatal outcome.

Night (Two Stags Battling by Moonlight), 1853

sir edwin landseer night two stags battling by moonlight

Morning (Two Dead Stags and a Fox), 1853

sir edwin landseer morning two dead stags and a fox

Alexandre Calame

Oak Trees, 1854

alexandre calame oak trees

Gustave Courbet

Spanish Woman, 1855

gustave courbet spanish woman

Edward Redfield

Overlooking the Delaware, 1919

edward redfield overlooking the delaware

James Abbot McNeill Whistler

Arrangement in Black (The Lady in the Yellow Buskin), 1883

The subject of this painting, Lady Archibald Campbell, was interested in the art of her time and posed for three full-length portraits by Whistler. This was the only one to be completed and to survive. Lady Campbell’s family, however, did not share her appreciation of contemporary art and rejected the painting, claiming it represented “a street walker encouraging a shy follower with a backward glance.”

james abbot mcneill whistler arrangement in black the lady in the yellow buskin

Henry Ossawa Tanner

The Annunciation, 1898

henry ossawa tanner the annunciation

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand, 1875

pierre auguste renoir portrait of mademoiselle legrand

William Maw Egley

Just as the Twig is Bent; The Tree’s Inclined, 1861

This before-and-after story involves two sisters interested in the same boy. In the first scene, the date is about 1850 and the boy, playing at being a soldier, seems to favor the blond girl. In the companion piece, the time is ten years later, and, as the title implies, the situation has not changed. Now a real soldier, the boy courts the blond while her sister, seen in the convex mirror on the wall, looks on with jealousy.

william maw egley just as the twig is bent the trees inclined

Below is a digitally cropped photo of the two paintings so they appear alongside each other (and allow my dear readers a better view of the scene). You can get a better view of the paintings by clicking on the image (note the facial expressions of the girls):

William Maw Egley Just as the Twig is Bent; The Tree's Inclined

And a closeup of the jealous sister in the mirror:

William Maw Egley Just as the Twig is Bent; The Tree's Inclined detail

Thomas Sully

Portrait of Mary Anne Heide Norris, 1830

thomas sully portrait of mary anne heide norris

Thomas Eakins

Home Ranch (Bad Lands of the Dakota Territory), 1892

thomas eakins home ranch

Thomas Eakins

The Agnew Clinic, 1889

thomas eakins the agnew clinic

Francisco Goya

Portrait of the Toreador Jose Romero, 1795

An old Spanish inscription on the back of this canvas explains that various pieces of Romero’s colorful costume were given to him by admirers of his bullfighting prowess, one of whom was the Duchess of Alba. The inscription goes on to praise Romero as the man “who with one sword thrust, brought to its knees the terrible bull that killed the agile Pepe Illo,” another famous bullfighter. Goya also painted Romero’s brother Pedro, reputedly an even greater toreador.

francisco goya portrait of the toreador jose romero

Pablo Picasso

Chrysanthemums, 1901

pablo picasso chrysanthemums

Mariano Fortuny

Arab Chief, 1874

mariano fortuny arab chief

Leon Frederic

The Four Seasons

Spring, 1893

leon frederic spring

Summer, 1894

leon frederic summer

John Atkinson Grimshaw

Liverpool From Wapping, 1885

john atkinson grimshaw liverpool from wapping

John Singer Sargent

In the Luxembourg Gardens, 1879

john singer sargent in the luxembourg gardens

Jean Leon Gerome

Portal of the Green Mosque (Sentinel at the Sultan’s Tomb), 1870

jean leon gerome portal of the green mosque sentinel at the sultans tomb

Giovanni Boldini

Highway of Combes-la-Ville, 1873

giovanni boldini highway of combes la ville

Gerrit Dou

A Hermit Praying, 1665-70

gerrit dou a hermit praying

Gerrit Dou

Landscape With a Goat, 1660-65

One of Dou’s most mysterious paintings, this landscape with a goat has no clear meaning, though it might allude to biblical themes such as the scapegoat of the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The presence of an amorous couple just behind the goat suggests a reading more in line with seventeenth-century attitudes toward goats, considered symbolic of lust or unchaste behavior.

gerrit dou landscape with a goat

Emilio Sanchez Perrier

Landscape (Evening in Spain), 1890

emilio sanchez perrier landscape evening in spain

Eduard Charlemont

The Moorish Chief (The Harem Guard), 1878

eduard charlemont the moorish chief the harem guard

Edmund Tarbell

Girl Writing, 1917

edmund tarbell girl writing

Daniel Garber

Quarry, Evening, 1913

daniel garber quarry evening

Claude Monet

Under the Pines, Evening, 1888

claude monet under the pines evening

Claude Monet

The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny, 1899

claude monet the japanese footbridge and the water lily pool giverny

Claude Monet

Path on the Island of Saint Martin, Vetheuil, 1881

claude monet path on the island of saint martin vetheuil

Claude Monet

Morning Haze, 1894

claude monet morning haze

Claude Monet

Bend in the Epte River Near Giverny, 1888

claude monet bend in the epte river near giverny

Andy Warhol

Electric Chair (Red), 1964

andy warhol electric chair red

One painting I was quite fond of was Sanford Griffith’s A Coming Storm which he originally painted in 1863 and then retouched and redated in 1880. Unfortunately, the painting was positioned in an area of the museum with very low light and so I was unable to obtain a decent photograph of the painting. However, I was fortunate enough to discover a good photo of the painting online along with an interesting analysis here if you are interested.

The view out toward downtown Philadelphia from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

philadelphia skyline


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