9.0 th…Post..St.Charles Seminary
Posted on: November 1st, 2011 by dan 108 Comments

At this point in time I had been somewhat unsuccessful in my visit to    Earles Galleries. However, my search continued. I had been reading about Thomas Eakins just to try to get myself up to speed. I was never aware of him until this point in time. Some of the material revealed that he often visited St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, which is located at City Line Avenue and Lancaster Ave. in the suburbs of Phila.,Pa.

( As St. Charles Borromeo Seminary looked during the time of Thomas Eakins, 1898 )

( Photo from the website of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary)   [#5]

However these Sunday visitations seemed to take place after the year 1898. The year Eakins created his, The Last Supper. His companion on most of the visits was Samuel Murray, who was his close associate and who shared a studio, for many years, with Thomas Eakins. The two would bicycle out early Sunday day. I guess there was a great deal of Church music, the scent of incense, conversations, lunch and wine. It must have been nice and relaxing for the times (even for today’s times). The following year1899, after Benjamin Eakins died, Thomas Eakins and Samuel Murry closed their studio(after 18 years), which was located at 1330 Chestnut Street in Phila., PA. Today there is a stainless steel plaque at the entrance to the current building commemorating their(Eakins) occupancy of that location.


photo   by……..dan                       [#6]

Well getting back to my readings. I had a feeling that there might be a picture of Leonardo’s , The Last Supper somewhere in the seminary complex. I should visit the Seminary. I called and spoke to the archivist, a young lady named Cate…… I told her of my research, I scheduled a tour of the Eakins room (I wasn’t aware there was an Eakins room). I learned later that tours can be scheduled for groups during the week.


photo by: William Innes Homer                      [#7]


I arrived early, meet with the Archivists’ personnel tour guide, James….., then we meet with the security guard and the room was then opened. I was very surprised. I didn’t expect a lone tour. The room was opened for my sole inspection. The room was magnificent. The ceiling was at least 15 ft to 20 feet high. Life size paintings of Bishops and Monsignors and others that Eakins had painted. There were other artifacts around and throughout the room, it was lovely. There was no urgency to move me through. The Eakins room was mine. The guard at the door, the tour guide James……. along side of me, the room was mine. Having learned earlier from the archivist that she knew of no picture of  The Last Supper anywhere in the Seminary complex. However, there could have easily been pictures in earlier years. During the early years a seminarian might have become attached to a particular work of art. After completion of his studies he might take a particular artifact with him to his assigned Parrish. This was permissible and acceptable. From the conversation with my tour guide James….I learned that there might be something in the Philadelphia Catholic Archives. So I asked , where are the archives? He responded, at the end of the driveway and that I could go there now. The Eakins room was now locked down and James and I parted company.

I went straight to the archives. Two lifers were there and they gracefully accommodated me. They both appeared very knowledgeable. I was told there was no picture of  The Last Supper in the archives. They would have known. I showed them what I had. They carefully examined the painting and both reached the same conclusion. My painting was not made for public display. It was a personnel endeavor. I didn’t understand the significance of their remark, although I made a note of our conversation. I didn’t learn until much later how foresightfull was their casual remark. I again thank Cate, my tour guide James….and the two lifers for their assist.


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