Why Philadelphia Is For Art Lovers


The 72 steps leading up to the Philadelphia Art Museum are called the “Rocky Steps” after Rocky’s run up the flight in the movie of the same name. It became symbolic of the ability of an underdog to triumph. Today some tourists run up the steps in Rocky fashion.  Others walk.  The view at the top is great. A 10-foot tall bronze Rocky statue was originally at the top of the steps and then moved to the bottom of the steps where it became a popular attraction.  However, it was considered a movie prop not art so it was moved to a different location.  Due to its popularity it was returned to the art museum in 2006 with much fanfare.  People stand in line to have their picture taken in front of the statue with their arms raised in triumph.


Nearby, “The Thinker,” which sits in a place of prominence in front of the Rodin Museum. Philadelphia is home to one of the best Auguste Rodin collections.  Rodin is considered the father of modern sculpture. The small museum in a Beaux Arts building has several dozen of Rodin works.  Most impressive are the massive bronze doors called “The Gates of Hell” that were inspired by “Dante’s Divine Comedy.”


Philadelphia has a plethora of museums that would take weeks to visit.  But art is everywhere. The city had a problem with graffiti which led to the Mural Arts Program in 1984 which was based on the concept if you can’t fight them join them.  I love creative solutions to a problem. The Anti-Graffiti Network hired muralist Jane Golden to reach out to graffiti painters and redirect their energies to constructive mural painting. To date the Mural Arts Program has produced over 3000 murals which has earned Philadelphia “The City of Murals.” The mural walking tour is very popular.


Philadelphia is a great art destination for art lovers

You need to be a member of Tripatini to add comments!

Join Tripatini


  • Hello Sandra and John, thanks for the post! The link at the end doesn't work (it's not a website address). Could you please take a look and provide the link? We'd love to have it. Thanks!

  • I don't mean to be rude to you, Mr. Wetschler, and I am glad you raised this issue, but you have understated the case. The re-opening of the Barnes Foundation, one of the finest art collections in the world, has been enormously controversial in the Philadelphia area, where I live, and in the art world everywhere.

    There are a variety of reasons for the controversy, starting with Dr. Barnes' will, which forbade changes in his idiosyncratic setting and arrangements. I am sympathetic to the opponents of the move, but I can see that the Foundation's new home is true to the spirit of Dr. Barnes' vision, and it is certainly more accessible to visitors and Philadelphians. 

    Whether people approve or disapprove of the move, this controversy has consumed Philadelphia and art lovers everywhere else for a decade, so now that it has opened, you cannot discuss art in my city without mentioning it. The Barnes has become our 800-pound gorilla. 

  • Coincidentally, I'm going to Philly on Tuesday. This really is one of the great art cities of America -- indeed, of the world. The big news this year? The re-opening of the amazing Barnes collection, which had been in Merion, in a new building by the Rodin Museum. 

This reply was deleted.