Quality of Life

Fine Arts

Although Rocky Balboa's intense training made its steps famous, it is what's inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art that makes it so spectacular. Located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it is the third-largest art museum in the United States, with over 300,000 pieces of artwork from the past 2,000 years. Featured works range from paintings and sculptures to furniture and architecture. Renaissance, American, European, Asian, impressionist and modern art are among the many collections exhibited, and artists such as Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and Monet draw large crowds. Additionally, the museum just opened the Perelman Building, the first phase of its major expansion plan. This building houses more of the museums' collections - some of which are open for public viewing for the first time - in new state-of-the-art galleries. And don't miss Art After 5, an event held every Friday night in the main building, where jazz musicians perform while guests enjoy cocktails and snacks.

The nearby Rodin Museum is home to more than 120 of Auguste Rodin's sculptures, paintings and drawings. The collection of Rodin's work is the largest existing outside of France. The free admission includes access to the famous garden that surrounds the building. There's also the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art museum and school of fine arts in the country. It exhibits 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century works of American art. If you're looking for more modern work, head out to West Philadelphia for the Institute of Contemporary Art, which features a fascinating rotation of exhibits by emerging and established artists.

You'll find the Rosenbach Museum and Library tucked away in a townhome near Rittenhouse Square. This collection of more than 300,000 manuscripts, letters and rare books features American and British writers, including James Joyce, Charles Dickens, Dylan Thomas and Lewis Carroll. In addition, the museum showcases fine art, rare photos and antique furniture.

The Barnes Foundation, in Merion, Montgomery County, showcases one of the world's largest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings. Plans are in progress for the museum to join its colleagues on the Parkway, where its magnificent artworks will be more accessible to the public. Bucks County has the James A. Michener Art Museum, which celebrates the work of regional artists. The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Delaware County, is actually a converted 19th-century gristmill. The museum is internationally known for its exhibits of work from three generations of Wyeths, and also has a fine collection of American illustration, still life and landscape painting.

Travel to New Castle County, Delaware, to experience Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. This country estate, set amid the backdrop of a glorious garden, was Henry Francis du Pont's home. It contains a collection of American art and furniture that dates from 1640 to 1860. Tours are available for a nominal fee, and ticketed visitors are invited to picnic on the beautiful estate grounds.

 
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