text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Rodin Museum

Ben Franklin Parkway 24 Rodins the thinker
The Thinker at the Rodin Museum

Just beyond 21st and Callowhill Streets, which both enter the Parkway here, is the Rodin Museum. This small museum is like a jewel box in design and contents. "The Thinker" broods before the entrance, which is a reproduction of parts of the old Chateau d'Issy. It provides an impressive entry to the formal garden with its lily pool which, in turn, draws the visitor naturally to the portico, containing the original casting of "The Gates of Hell." The garden is a natural, unplanned bird sanctuary.

Given by Jules Mastbaum, the theatrical magnate, to the citizens of Philadelphia (he died in 1926 before it was begun), the museum contains some of Rodin's greatest figures — "The Burghers of Calais," "Adam," "Eve," "St. John the Baptist Preaching," busts and figures of Balzac, and busts of Gustav Mahler, George Bernard Shaw, Victor Hugo, Georges Clemenceau, Pope Benedict XV and Puvis de Chavannes. Sketches, drawings, books and papers of Rodin's are on deposit as well as plaster casts and a fine series of mood photographs of Rodin at Meudon by Edward Steichen. The plaster of "Eternal Springtime" is the original Rodin sculpture which the artist presented to Robert Louis Stevenson in 1885.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway