September 11, 2015 |
At the mention of Flemish baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens and his masterpiece Prometheus Bound , the first thing that comes to mind probably is not Spider-Man. And yet - why not? Is Prometheus, the titan who defied Zeus and stole fire from Mount Olympus and then bestowed it on humanity any less a tortured superhero than Spidey? He suffered terribly for his heroic act of aid and defiance. The infuriated Zeus had him chained to a rock where, every night, an eagle descended and savagely ripped out his perpetually regenerating liver.
December 26, 2014 |
The Triumph of David was a mess. Old, original paint on the 17th-century canvas was faded and flaking in many spots. Newer paint from several inexpert restoration attempts had become discolored. Standing before the massive painting at Villanova University, art conservator Kristin deGhetaldi could tell all this with her experienced eye. But in order to bring the painting back to life, how could she tell where the old paint ended and the new paint began? The answer: a mix of art and science.
October 7, 2012
After extensive renovations, the Philadelphia History Museum, at 15 S. Seventh St., has reopened and among the exhibitions is "Face to Facebook," a look at how Philadelphians have pictured themselves from the 17th century to now. Match up the notable Philadelphian with his or her portrait. To learn more about the museum, visit www.philadelphiahistory.org or call 215-685-4830. Answers below. 1. William Penn. 2. Harriet Lee Smith. 3. Charles Willson Peale. 4. George Washington.
June 1, 2012 |
Michael Ogborn's new musical Tulipomania , commissioned by the Arden Theatre, has been through six years of development, several scripts, plus the addition and eventual subtraction of playwright Michael Hollinger ( Opu s Ghost-Writer ). Its story, pegged to the 17th-century Dutch tulip craze, remains a topical match for any number of parallels: subprime mortgage crisis, real estate bubble, Facebook IPO. No stranger to the Arden, Ogborn premiered two other musicals there - Baby Case and Cafe Puttanesca - both, like Tulipomania , directed by the company's artistic director, Terry Nolen.
July 31, 2011 |
On an otherwise unremarkable day about a decade ago, Lloyd DeWitt found himself poking around in the storage vaults of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Recently hired as assistant curator for the John G. Johnson Collection, DeWitt was seeking a deeper familiarity with the breadth of the collection, bequeathed to the museum in 1917. Among the paintings packed away in the darkness was a small head of Christ painted on wood and attributed by a stream of scholars to Rembrandt's workshop, but not to the great 17th-century master himself.
December 2, 2010 |
Some music is born on the cutting edge - and stays there, no matter how many centuries pass. That's one reason the seemingly unwieldy but ever-fascinating Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 by Claudio Monteverdi is having performances in heady succession all over the world (including Sunday in Philadelphia) but also why it needed this 400th anniversary of its publication to make them happen. The music's eternal singularity has often attracted champions well outside early-music circles, from composer Osvaldo Golijov to conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, encouraging performers to work through the challenges with a frequency of performances that increased the piece's visibility in ways that could barely be imagined 30 years ago. Nonetheless, there's still so little agreement over what the piece is and what it needs that the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia's collaboration with the Renaissance band Piffaro at 4 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church will sound quite different from a similar effort five years ago. The chorus of 90 in 2005 is down to 40 in 2010, allowing the kind of hairpin flexibility that makes this quickly shifting music more immediate to modern audiences.
April 30, 2010 |
The auction schedule for May will open next week with two major collections: one from a source that is anonymous, the other from one that was notorious - plus a third sale featuring a Norman Rockwell original. The collection offered by the anonymous source consists of 40 lots of 18th-century English furniture that will be featured by Freeman's at its two-day sale of English and continental furniture, silver, and decorative arts at the gallery at 1808 Chestnut St. Amassed over the last 30 years by the consignor, identified in the auction catalog as a Virginia gentleman and a "respected leader in the field of academic economics and engineering," they will be offered at the first session beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
April 19, 2010 |
Breaking all Ten Commandments is a tall order, not to mention a lot of work. But that apparently could be accomplished in 17th-century Spain, where sacred and profane, absurd and profound, were potential bedfellows, as the weekend's concerts by the Renaissance band Piffaro suggested. Titled "Pomp, Piety, and Passion," the program tried to re-create musical theater of 17th-century Spain with vocal and instrumental pieces grouped roughly around a narrative about a woman who arrives at a Catholic confessional to report her rampant commandment breaking with her lover - with ensuing accounts as to how that happened.
March 10, 2010 |
Seven years ago, when Paul Kimport was looking for a house, his requirements were few: It had to be cheap and near the Standard Tap, the pub that he co-owns in Northern Liberties. Kimport settled a few blocks north, across Girard Avenue, in Fishtown, a neighborhood that got its name from its shad-fishing roots in the 18th century. Yet by the early 21st century, Fishtown had come to mean shut-down factories, a poorer working-class population, and continual news reports of petty crime and fires.
March 29, 2009 |
When the first stone was laid for Sellers Hall in 1682, there was no Upper Darby, Philadelphia was largely an imaginary place, and Samuel Sellers was living in a cave near what is now Garrett Road in Delaware County. The house was completed a year or so later, Sellers moved in with his new bride, and the couple launched what would become a remarkable multigenerational engineering clan that ultimately tooled the machines driving America's industrial revolution. Sellers family members were founders and leaders of the American Philosophical Society and the Franklin Institute.