Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Philadelphia


This prestigious arts school, founded in 1805, occupies two buildings including a masterwork of Victorian Gothic architecture designed by Frank Furness and George Hewitt. Start your tour of the museum's collection in that building, where the interior design nearly – but not quite – overshadows the works on display. The key piece is The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins, a former student and later teacher at the academy.

Ownership of this canvas is shared with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it will return for five years from 2022. The collection continues in the neighboring contemporary building where you can see temporary exhibitions. Guided tours are held at 1pm and 2pm Thursday to Saturday and are included in the admission fee.


Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Philadelphia attractions

1. Paint Torch

0.01 MILES

This 51ft fiberglass paintbrush with an accompanying giant blob of paint is a 2011 work by Claes Oldenburg. At night the orange paint-coated bristles of…

2. Grumman Greenhouse

0.04 MILES

Jordan Griska's dramatic conceptional work is formed from a Grumman Tracker II naval plane that appears to have crash-landed at a jaunty angle into the…

3. Municipal Services Building Plaza

0.09 MILES

Scattered across this plaza are the playful Your Move by Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis and Roger White, which consists of giant board-game pieces;…

4. Masonic Temple

0.11 MILES

Although the fortress-like exterior of this 1873 building is pretty impressive, it's the spectacular interiors – which took a further 15 years to complete…

5. JFK Plaza

0.15 MILES

Taking its nickname from Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, this public space was revamped in 2018 during which the iconic sculpture, a city landmark, also…

6. Center / Architecture + Design

0.15 MILES

Run by the American Institute of Architects, there's an exhibition space here with regularly changing exhibits about local architecture projects. Check…

7. Fabric Workshop & Museum

0.16 MILES

The only such organization of its kind in the US is a wonderful place to discover how creative artists and craftspeople can be with textiles and fabrics…

8. City Hall

0.19 MILES

Completed in 1901 following 30 years of construction, City Hall takes up a whole block, and at 548ft is the world's tallest structure without a steel…