Colors at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art attracts visitors for so many reasons. As a museum lover, I visited the iconic art museum last month. During my visit, I noticed some of the theme colors that the museum carries: blue, red, brown, yellow, black, and white.

When entering the museum, my eyes were filled with the color yellow, specifically, a golden yellow. The grand golden atrium created a sense of nobility, reminding me that Philadelphia is a historically significant city that was once the capital of the United States. 


Stepping forward to each room of the museum, fun patterns of colors start to show up. For rooms that exhibit paintings, the theme colors would be dark blue, dark red, and brown. Generally, the color blue is present with portraits of a single person. From an aesthetic aspect, as the backgrounds of portraits usually appear to be black or white, dark blue is a perfect color to keep the audience interested in each room while not stealing the attention from the paintings. It also created a sense of calmness as I examined these portraits.


The color red often appeared as a background in rooms with group portraits or paintings that had more than one focus. This color setting was not optimal in my opinion because the paintings themselves already had a lot going on. The red wall accelerated my speed in examining the paintings. Was this a psychological phenomenon that warm colors provide us some kind of hormones that make us excited? I am curious to find out.


The last major color theme in the museum was the color brown. It came with abstract or religious art. As the wall was combined with a wooden texture design, I saw a connection between religion and nature in these rooms.



After walking through the exhibition rooms with paintings, the track of colors reached its extreme in the room of contemporary arts. A tall room with the roof painted with simple blue and white shapes was near the contemporary arts.



Just as every contemporary art museum does, the Philadelphia Museum of Arts has a collection of pure black paintings and pure white paintings as well. How does one interpret an art piece like this? Hmm…I'll leave that to you. 


What I'd like to point out is that the room actually contained a piece that has the words “Red Yellow Blue” in 3-D on it. This piece utilizes the element of colors in an eye-friendly way that made it neither too crowded nor too boring. It was interesting to see the crashes between colors and how they entangle each other to function as a whole piece of art. What’s more, it was even more interesting to see the mixture of contemporary arts with various colors that I don’t even have a name for. Exploring different approaches to colors is the best thing to do in a museum.

There are more colors in the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. Beyond colors, there's more to discover. Next week, check back for my article about the museum or visit it yourself one day, I'm sure it won’t let you down!

All photos in this article were taken by me.