Monday, July 14, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Let these ‘Lifeforms’ captivate you at the National Liberty Museum

Vittorio Constantini´s "Seahorses Swimming in the Midst of Algae, on the Bottom of the Sea," at the National Liberty Museum´s Lifeforms Exhibit, which opens to the public Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. The opening reception is on Feb. 7, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson/Philly.com)
Vittorio Constantini's "Seahorses Swimming in the Midst of Algae, on the Bottom of the Sea," at the National Liberty Museum's Lifeforms Exhibit, which opens to the public Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. The opening reception is on Feb. 7, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson/Philly.com)
Vittorio Constantini´s "Seahorses Swimming in the Midst of Algae, on the Bottom of the Sea," at the National Liberty Museum´s Lifeforms Exhibit, which opens to the public Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. The opening reception is on Feb. 7, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson/Philly.com) Gallery: The 'Lifeforms' exhibit at the National Liberty Museum

Artful glass sculptures are in full bloom now at the National Liberty Museum. In the beautiful Lifeforms exhibit, more than thirty-juried handmade glass works of art have made their way to Philadelphia, just in time to melt the cool weather away.

The show features a selection of artists, from around the world, who favor a technique called flameworking to craft stunning and intricate glass pieces. Lifeforms explores variations of nature stemming from plant and life sciences.

Over a year ago, Robert Mickelsen, famed glass flameworker, put out a call for entry, open to artists everywhere, to make pieces inspired by famous German glass craftsmen Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. After receiving about one hundred submissions, each sculpture was juried and narrowed down to fifty of the best. The selected winners were put on display at the Pittsburgh Glass Center during the summer, and thirty of those works have now found their way to Philadelphia, thanks to the National Liberty Museum's show curator Anna Boothe.

Submitted work was heavily inspired by the Blaschka’s massive glass flower collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Back in the late 1800s, the historical father and son team were contracted to produce life-like, glass models of the plant kingdom that would serve as a teaching tool for plant biology courses at the University. After five decades, the duo produced over 3,000 models that represent more than 830 different plant species.

In addition to the thirty glass sculptures on display, the museum has gotten their hands on digital reproductions of original sketches that show the Blaschka's preliminary work for their famous glass flowers.

Beginning Tuesday, January 14, come marvel at the beauty of these inspired pieces at the National Liberty Museum.


The “Lifeforms” exhibit opens at the National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Opening reception takes place on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m.

The museum is open Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and on Sundays noon - 6 p.m. The exhibit will close on Wednesday, April 13. For more information visit libertymuseum.org.

More coverage
  • Documenting our 30-year affair with murals
  • Gabrielle Bonghi Philly.com
    Latest Videos:
    Also on Philly.com:
    Stay Connected