Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rodin Museum, Philadelphia

My wife and I took a trip into "town" today to get some fresh city air (oxymoron?) and get a bit of culture. Decided to swing by the Rodin Museum because it's one of those subtle yet prominent (another oxymoron?) places that make Philadelphia interesting. It sits right on Philly's showcase avenue, the Ben Franklin Parkway, but gets lost in the shuffle as it sits within a few blocks of the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the rest that downtown Philly has to offer. So why not go out and support the little guy?

As you walk up to the small though impressive museum, you immediately are faced with "The Gates of Hell" sculpture. It must be at least 20 feet high and 10 feet wide and has intricate carvings of people, objects and other fodder. (Sorry, I'm not very conversant when it comes to describing art!) The photo at right gives you an idea of its size (thanks to for the photo!). According to the booklet that's provided inside, it took Rodin about 40 years to make this sculpture. Now THAT'S some project! Simply amazing. Gotta love the dedication.

Inside you are greeted by friendly security guards, who give you a wink-wink, nudge-nudge towards the donation box (it's free to enter but I'd say it's worth the $3 suggested donation). Then you proceed right into the main hall of the museum and are greeted by six life-sized men in a sculpture entitled "The Burghers of Calais". It is an eye-opening and powerful piece, and is definitely the most amazing piece inside the museum.

Strolling around the museum, there are dozens of other sculptures large and small, that range from busts of famous figures (such as Victor Hugo and Balzac... there's even a "Naked Balzac"... I kid you not), to experiments in studying the human form, to mythological scenes. Let's just say that if I could create just one of these sculptures, I'd be thrilled, let alone the entire collection that is on hand.

And that's really what it's all about. I gained an appreciation for the creativity, talent, and energy of Rodin's work, and it reminded me that we're all put on this Earth to do SOMETHING extremely well. Rodin could chisel marble like few others. Whereas I can... well I'm still looking for my special skill!

Anyway, I always find it refreshing to view works of art up close and personal to really feel what the artist created and gain a better understanding of what it must feel like to produce such amazing work. Unfortunately I don't go out and do this enough! It's really a good feeling when you see art at its best.

So if you're looking for a nice little excursion while in Center City Philadelphia, make a rendezvous with Rodin. You'll be glad you did.

No comments: