Boston's Copley Masterpiece Heads to Philadelphia After Eagles Win Super Bowl

Via Twitter #MuseumBowl, Detail: John Singleton Copley’s “Mrs.  James Warren (Mercy Otis)” (ca 1763)
Via Twitter #MuseumBowl, Detail: John Singleton Copley’s “Mrs. James Warren (Mercy Otis)” (ca 1763)
(MFA, Boston via Twitter)
  • Benjamin West’s “Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky” (ca 1816)

    Benjamin West’s “Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky” (ca 1816)

    Philadelphia Museum of Art

While the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles played the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art had their own, equally contentious, Museum Bowl. At stake was a prized painting wagered from their permanent collections.

A fourth quarter fumble by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady resulted in the close game suddenly heading in the Eagles' favor. The 41-33 victory went to the underdog Eagles.

Since the Eagles won, the MFA will loan John Singleton Copley’s "Mrs. James Warren (Mercy Otis)" (ca 1763) to the City of Brotherly Love. If the Patriots had won, the Philadelphia Museum would have loaned Benjamin West’s "Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricty from the Sky" (ca 1816) to the MFA. 

Following tradition, the museums also sparred on Twitter over the weekend. Some great Photoshopping of famous artworks, plus epic tweet burns, ensued. One: @philamuseum tweets an image of a "deflated" sculpture to "@mfaboston We thought you would like this work since you are used to using slightly deflated objects… #deflategate"

An age-old rivalry over colonial history spilled into another Super Bowl wager between Philadelphia's Museum of the American Revolution President Michael C. Quinn and Catherine Allgor, President of the Massachusetts Historical Society. With the Eagles win, President Allgor will travel to Philadelphia to deliver a speech on why Philly is the true “Cradle of Liberty” and dine on cheesesteak. 

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Edward Cucuel (1875–1954), The Parasol, 1915, Oil on canvas.  Courtesy of The Hosek Collection of American Art

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