The folks at Children’s Book World recommended Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman to my mother recently. She mentioned it to me so I promptly went out and read it too. I generally don’t read many works of non-fiction, but I found this particular book fascinating (as I mentioned here.) The relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo, was complicated. Their love for one another was inspiring, though they did fight often as brothers are wont to do. Most of all, I loved the description of the art. When I remembered that Von Gogh’s famed Sunflowers was hanging in Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jackie and I promptly took a trip to explore.
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Philadelphia Museum of Art is a cultural landmark in Philadelphia —for good reason. The paintings, sculptures, and tapestries in their collection are the finest in the city. While we went specifically to see Von Gogh’s Sunflowers but stayed to view the other famed works.
Sunflowers is housed in European Art wing alongside, Monet, Renoir and another master impressionist painters. We saw quite a few of them before we came face to face with Vincent’s oil on canvas. Heiligman’s description in Vincent and Theo was good, but nothing beats seeing the painting up close. **I loved to read In the Garden with Van Gogh to my boys when they were younger – it’s part of a series. I couldn’t resist bringing it along!
After we left the European wing, we traveled up to the second floor to see the Japanese Tea Room. In order to get there, one must pass through the European Art wing of 1100-1500. It was absolutely mesmerizing to see the ancient castle walls recreated in the museum. It felt as if we had been transported back in time.
At last, we arrived at the Asian Art gallery. Gorgeous Tea Rooms made us feel as though we had voyaged half way around the world. We took in the various works before decided to grab a bite to eat.
Grub and Gifts:
Downstairs we went to the cafe to grab lunch. Inside, the room was bright and welcoming. Starr Catering provides the meals and let me tell you…it…was…excellent. I grabbed a salmon salad and Jackie had a Caprese sandwich. We each got a bowl of minestrone soup as well because it looked too good to pass up!
With our bellies full and our cultural appetites appeased, we had one more destination – the gift shop! Listen, there is rarely a museum store that I don’t like and this is one of the best! They have fantastic, creative gifts for kids and adults alike. Often times you can find autographed books available for purchase. I walked away with left right crayons. Jackie purchased Pancakes! An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Neiminen for her children. It’s so adorable! You mix the batter and flip the pancakes within the book.
Neither Jackie nor I have a membership to the museum, so we paid the standard $20 admission fee which grants you access to the main building, the Rodin Museum, the Perelman Building, and Cedar Grove for 2 consecutive days. That is an excellent deal for any out-of-towners! For those of you who live nearby or can make it more than once a year, memberships start at just $75.