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Philadelphia Museum of Art Pediment - Philadelphia, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 57.937 W 075° 10.816
18S E 484604 N 4423956
Quick Description: Fantastic pediment at the top of the right most structure of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (southeastern entrance) depicts the most prestigious of ancient Greek gods. The sculptures were installed in 1932.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 1/9/2011 7:17:56 PM
Waymark Code: WMAFM4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 5

Long Description:

Within the pediment surmounting the northeast facade are 13 freestanding, life-size figures designed by C. Paul Jennewein and John Gregory. They were executed in chrome and gold glazes and occupy a tympanum 70 feet wide at the base and ranging to 12 feet in height. They are considered an outstanding example of the ceramic art in colors. The mythological figures, according to the sculptors, signify sacred and profane love, the two underlying forces which are basic in the development of art and civilization in every age. Among the figures represented are Jupiter, Venus, Aurora, Cupid and Adonis. They, together with the figures of a lion, a mighty serpent and an owl, all made from polychrome terra cotta, symbolize the influences which produced western culture. --- Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, 1940; page 362

The pediment facing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is adorned with sculptures by Carl Paul Jennewein depicting Greek gods and goddesses. This is the most magnificent pediment one might ever seen. It is a colorful cacophony of mythological creatures, all stuffed inside this Greek Revival style pediment. Among those represented are Eos, Nous, Adonis, Hippomenes (lion), Eros, Aphrodite, Zeus, Demeter, Triptolemus, Ariadne, Theseus, Minotaur, and Python. I have seen this pediment also called Western Civilization.

The SIRIS site does a decent description of this unbelievable work of art. The pediment contains thirteen figures of classical mythology which illustrate the theme of sacred and profane love in Western civilization. The central figure is Zeus, ruler of the gods. He stands holding a sphere in his proper right hand and a scepter in his proper left hand. His nude figure is draped with a piece of fabric and a decorative band across his chest. On his head he wears a crown. To his proper left is Demeter, protector of marriage, holding the hand of the child Triptolemus whom she rescued from a mortal illness. Next is Ariadne; Theseus slaying the Minotaur; and the beast Python. To the proper right of Zeus, is Aphrodite, goddess of love, and her son, Eros; Hippomenes in the form of a lion; Adonis; Nous (the mind); and Eos, goddess of the dawn. Eos turns away from the owl, bird of the night, which is located on the end of the pediment. SOURCE

The sculpture is polychrome terra cotta covered with ceramic glazes. Its dimensions: (pediment) approximately 144 inches in height and 840 inches in length. A complete list of artists employed in this undertaking were: Jennewein, C. Paul, 1890-1978, sculptor, Zantzinger, C. Clark, Jr., 1904- , architect, Trumbauer, Horace, architect, Solon, Leon V., painter and Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, fabricator.

The colored glazing was achieved using the methods of Greek architectural sculpture. Figures representing the pursuit of wisdom in Eastern civilization were modeled for the planned south pediment, but the fabricator went out of business before the work could be executed. The colorist, Leon V. Solon, author of the 1924 publication entitled "Polychromy," assisted in the fabrication of the figures.

TITLE: Philadelphia Museum of Art Pediment

ARTIST(S): Jennewein, C. Paul, 1890-1978, sculptor. Zantzinger, C. Clark, Jr., 1904- , architect. Trumbauer, Horace, architect. Solon, Leon V., painter. Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, fabricator.

DATE: 1932. Installed 1932.

MEDIUM: Sculpture: Polychrome terra cotta covered with ceramic glazes.


Direct Link to the Individual Listing in the Smithsonian Art Inventory: [Web Link]

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, North Pediment, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130

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