The weekly photo for my newspaper column is not always timely, or tied to a holiday or specific event. But I did start thinking about Flag Day right after Memorial Day.
How could I not think about the day while photographing dozens of Stars and Stripes at the Museum of the American Revolution as staffers prepared “Flags and Founding Documents, 1776-Today” for the opening of their new exhibit?
Or thought about it earlier in the week? Covering the New Jersey primary election night victory party for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli, the red, white and blue was in abundance.
But as the deadline to submit a photo for my weekly spot on page B-2 in the print edition of the newspaper approached, I forgot.
Instead, I went with the photo below. At least it has some American history going for it.
It’s statuary in front of Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, one of the few buildings remaining from the 1876 International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
The Beaux-Arts style building by architect Herman J. Schwarzmann housed the Exhibition’s art gallery (It is now home of the Please Touch Museum). The Pegasus by Vincenz Bildhauer Pilz is one of two bronze winged horses installed at the Imperial Opera House in Vienna in 1863. But the Austrian government thought them out of scale and ordered them removed and melted down. Both were rescued by Philadelphia businessman Robert H. Gratz and moved here in time for the Exhibition.
Mirroring each other, the horses from Greek mythology stand on either side of the entrance to the hall. With them are their muses. That’s Erato, in my photo, who represents love poetry. (Calliope, representing epic poetry, is on the other side).
The zinc statue of Columbia on the dome (in rear) by A.M.J. Mueller is a smaller version of the original, which was replaced after it was damaged in a thunderstorm in 1901. I was unable to find any references to statue of the figure with a globe (left) that was also present in 1876.
Since 1998, a black-and-white photo has appeared every Monday in staff photographer Tom Gralish’s photo column in The Inquirer’s local news section. Here are the most recent, in color: