Art museum has real appeal

Mary Elizabeth Donovan

By Mary Elizabeth Donovan

Staff Reporter

In the past, I have had issues entertaining my parents on Parents Weekend. When they asked the dreaded question – “What’re we going to do today?” – I would give the cliché answer: “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

This year, however, I had given what I thought was a superb answer: “Shopping, then manicures and then a nice dinner.” My father, who is from Houston and did me a favor by sneaking away from a business trip, unfortunately did not receive this reply with the positive enthusiasm I had hoped for. Instead, he responded to my plans with his idea of going to the art museum.

Reluctantly, I agreed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and to my surprise, I had a lovely time. Knowing my affinity toward Impressionist art, my father and I found the Impressionism area of the museum first. There, the museum boasts an impressive collection of oil on canvases by Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne. They also had a decent collection by Vincent Van Gogh and Mary Stevenson Cassatt.

There are many controversies that revolve around what defines art. The most all-inclusive yet succinct definition I have ever heard is that art is something that evokes the human condition in a way that has never been done before. Impressionism does that for me, and I must say I love the landscapes and French culture on which the artwork focuses; they are beautiful in an intrinsic way.

My father and I both believe that too much time at a museum can lead to resentment and hunger, so we like to keep our visits short yet eventful. Therefore, we saw the Impressionist collection and skimmed the American collection because that is what the art museum is known for. The museum has a couple of rooms dedicated to Thomas Eakins, who is best known for his portraits, and I must say he has an incredible talent for capturing intense emotion. I am not an art connoisseur, but I know what I like, and I consider myself a good judge of talent. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, even if just for its notoriety because of the movie “Rocky,” is a great place to visit and roam.