Think Rodin's The Thinker is just a Philly thing?
Neither are you likely to love the truth about Philly's LOVE sculpture.
The subject comes up because Google, celebrating the 172d anniversary of the birth of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, has an image of the famous brooder front and center on its home page today.
Also, because The Thinker can be found smack-dab in front of the Rodin Museum on the Parkway, and he's been there (except for a refurbishing-related sojourn a couple of summers ago) hunching his muscular frame, chin on knuckles, since 1929, according to the museum's website, www.rodinmuseum.org.
But it's not THE Thinker. As in the one and only.
It's A Thinker. A dupe, a clone, one of 22 nearly identical twins.
The first large bronze casting - monument-sized - was made around 1902, and that one is at the University of Louisville, said Jennifer Thompson, curator of the local Rodin Museum.
The Philly casting dates to Paris 1919 - two years after Rodin's death. The statue - like the museum itself - was a gift to the city from entrepreneur/philanthropist Jules E. Mastbaum.
Twenty-two such castings can be found around the globe, from Stanford to Sweden, from Columbia University to Argentinia, from the Baltimore Museum of Art to three museums in Japan.
To Thompson, they're all originals, because they're all how Rodin intended the work to be.
"They're all on an equal footing," she said.
They're just not unique. Indeed, the museum also has a medium-size Thinker inside. Examples of that one, too, can be found elsewhere.
"Of things that are found nowhere else in the world, I think we have about 20 to 30," she said.
The museum and its grounds reopened in July after a major refurbishing, partly to complement the creation of its new neighbor, the Barnes Museum.
As for the LOVE sculpture, so favored by tourists stopping by fountain-spouting JFK Plaza near City Hall, it's far from Robert Indiana's only version.
Similar ones can be found in more than a dozen other U.S. cities, from New York to Daytona Beach, Fla., to Scottsdale, Ariz., and in various cities around the world.
There's even another one in Philadelphia, in Blanche Levy Park at 36th Street and Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The campus of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Montgomery County, has one, too.
Indiana created the logo for a Museum of Modern Art holiday card in 1965.