Interior of Interest: Not the Museum Portion of the Program, but the Art School at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Ever been to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA)? If the answer is yes, you probably have no recollection of the life size plaster copy of Michelangelo’s David nor any of his countless associates… And why is this? Well, go easy on yourself, your memory isn’t as bad as you think… This photograph was not take in the museum portion of the building, but within a permanent exhibit for educational purposes in the “art school” portion of the PAFA.
While most of the old art schools in America were auctioning off and/or throwing away the physical representation of the generally discarded classical education, Philadelphia’s PAFA preserved the antiquated environment of old–the same environment that hosted the masterful Thomas Eakins and others who taught the previous generations.
And, no, this is not a recreation nor is it a tribute, it is merely a classroom that represents the most modern principles of art, which, in our opinion, is a theory of education that includes the acceptance of all periods whether classical or modern, outrageous or meaningful. While the classical sculpture touches many nuances of an art education, it also represents the retention of an interior that evades a certain vitality that no longer exists in most of the art institutions in America.
We almost always have our hats off to Liberty City, but this time we must commend Philadelphia’s PAFA. We recognize, most importantly, that a particular type of education has been preserved for use in a broader ciriculum, but these preservation efforts have also maintained an environment that truly invokes feeling. Museum or classroom we need no explanations to experience what these rooms have to offer.