Photos, story by Lou Perri
What can one say about Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and his gifted staff, but they did it again with another wonderful exhibit.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers visitors The Wrath of the Gods: Masterpieces by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Titian. The exhibition focuses on one of the finest works by the great Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Prometheus Bound. This ambitious, large-scale painting, described by the artist himself as “the flower of my stock,” is presented alongside works by the Renaissance and Baroque masters who inspired Rubens’s dramatic treatment of the eternal torment to which the Titan Prometheus was condemned by Zeus for giving the gift of fire to humanity. These include Michelangelo’s famous drawing of the Titan Tityus, on loan from the British Royal Collection, and Titian’s large canvas depicting the same subject from the collection of the Museo del Prado. Neither work has ever been displayed together with Prometheus Bound by Rubens.
What makes this wonderful collection of art so dramatic is, of course, the works themselves. But, Christopher Atkins, the Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture before 1900, has created a wonderful exhibit room. He stated: “The ancient story of Prometheus is among the most enduring myths associated with human creativity. It has continued to resonate, from the depiction of Frankenstein as the ‘modern Prometheus’ to the eternal flame represented by the Olympic torch and within Hollywood films. Rubens’s motivation for painting Prometheus in all its graphic violence is best understood as a means to align both his works and identity with the greatest masters of the recent and ancient past. It is among his greatest achievements.”
If you are exploring Philadelphia in the future, be sure to include this wonderful Rubens exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum in your plans. It’s worth the run up those Art Museum steps to view.