Editor’s note: The interns of Campus Philly share their most loved Philly spots and experiences as students in the City of Brotherly Love.
Robin Sawla, Drexel University
Favorite Spot: Sculptures on the Parkway
Neighborhood: Art Museum Area
I am: A full time marketing student in Philadelphia, an avid lover of travel, food, art, and film.
Years in Philly: 5
Current Home: University City
My Love Note:
I started discovering how much I enjoyed looking at and learning about art after moving to Philadelphia. Philadelphia has a wide variety of art. I’ve been to the typical art galleries around the city, but what truly amazes me is the amount of outdoor sculptures it has to offer. Some of the best art is located right on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
While living in Philadelphia, I would pass by these sculptures all the time, taking their very existence for granted, and never truly appreciating the detail and the beauty the sculptures have to offer. One day I decided to explore the Rodin museum right on the Parkway. One of my favorites is the Gates of Hell sculpture. The sculpture is located right by the entrance of the museum and the detailing on it is superb — the struggles of man and the detailing of a place that is unknown to all of us.
Others, such as the water god sculpture of Logan Square, take me back to a time when I traveled through the piazzas in Europe. When I look at these sculptures along the parkway, I feel nostalgic and truly miss the art I discovered while visiting Madrid, London, and Florence.
There are two sculptures right by the art museum that I fell in love with when I first saw them. The first was a sculpture called Social Consciousness by Jacob Epstein. There are three ghoulish figures, symbols of compassion, destiny, and death. What intrigued me from the moment I laid eyes on it was the fact that this sculpture is so enigmatic in its message. It shows human suffering and the connection between our suffering, destiny, and ultimate death. It is a very powerful piece to me.
Prometheus strangling the vulture is another evokative sculpture. I grew up learning about Greek mythology so this sculpture reminds me of what I learned earlier in life. It makes you want to explore Greek mythology and the reason for why Prometheus must wrestle with the vulture. Another favorite sculpture is Jesus Breaking Bread by Walter Erlebacher. Even though it is very tiny and easy to miss, it’s Biblical message takes the audience back into history.
For me, art is all about personality, and the city of Philadelphia is full of great art, personality, and culture. I like looking at these sculptures and pondering the meaning and feelings behind the sculptors’ message. Maybe the sculptor was feeling joyful, or sad, or mysterious. But that’s why art is so great because it lets our imagination take over and ponder the very message the sculptor wanted to depict to the world.
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