The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts: An Ideal and a Symbol

By 1805, the year the Pennsylvania Acad­emy of the Fine Arts was founded, Phila­delphia had achieved a large measure of political, social and economic stability. It had been the nation’s capital and contin­ued to thrive as a center of banking and commerce. The largest city in the United States at the opening of the nineteenth century, it was arguably the center of culture, with Boston its...
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Current and Coming

Mammoth Scale Sometime about 1808, renowned Philadelphia physician Caspar Wistar (1761-1818) – for whom the city’s Wistar Institute is named – asked sculptor William Rush (1756-1833) to create a series of large-scale anatomical models. Rush, known chiefly as a maker of civic statuary and ships’ figureheads, responded with the strangest works of his career: a massive inner...
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Current and Coming

Jimmy Stewart Upon his death at the age of eighty-­nine, James Maitland Stewart (1908-1997) – Jimmy Stewart to adoring fans throughout the world – was described by Washington Post staff writer Bart Barnes as “a motion picture Olympian with an all-American image and a universal appeal whose roles as a movie actor helped define a national culture.” During his career, he...
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