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Posts tagged ‘monuments’

Man and Myth: Interpreting Statues of Lincoln

Mount Rushmore

Nothing says importance like being carved into a mountainside – Mount Rushmore National Memorial, near Keystone, South Dakota (Photo: Wikicommons)

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are focusing on Sculpture.  We’ve got picks from all over the world and different time periods.  Be sure to check out all the posts below!

Statues always remind me of monuments and I am fascinated by how cultures remember their heroes.  Living in Washington DC, I am surrounded by monuments to great American men.  A lot of artistic thought goes into these sculptures because subtle, and not so subtle, visual choices shape how we view and remember these famous people.  I think no other figure is wrapped in as much symbolic meaning and myth as Abraham Lincoln.  Whether in books, art, or movies, we continue to struggle with who this president was and how we remember him.  Two statues in DC epitomize this debate for me.

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Photo of the Week – A Capitol Autumn

I was down at the National Gallery of Art this weekend to see Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections (more on that later…) and saw this incredible view of the Fall foliage and the juxtaposed with brilliant white Capitol building.

US capitol, autumn leaves

There were a few clouds that kept casting interesting shadows alternatively between the trees and the Capitol building.  I also love this view down Pennsylvania Ave; its so dramatic.

Travel, Timing, and Reconstruction: Why You Can’t See What You Came to See

Washington DC had a very unusual earthquake in 2011.  It destroyed some of the statuary at the National Cathedral and cracked the Washington Monument, an iconic obelisk-shaped landmark in the center of the city.  This summer a massive scaffold has gone up over the tower to continue the repairs.  Reconstruction and restoration are common sights for travelers where long-term improvement projects often leave facades covered and historic interiors obstructed.  You can still enjoy these sites with in most cases with minimal impact on your visit!

washington monument restoration

Restoration of the Washington Monument takes place behind an artistic scaffold.

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Bernini’s Rejected French Sculpture

st peters interior, Rome

Bernini created the interior marble facade, canopy and high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo: rachel_titiriga, flickr)

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 – 1680) should be familiar to visitors to Rome.  He essentially created the Baroque city that we see today producing sculptures, fountains, buildings and the majority of the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica.  Considering that he started creating accurate portrait busts at 14 and continued to work until he was 82, Bernini is deservedly known as a prolific genius.  But did you know that even his work was occasionally rejected? Read more

Boston Marathon Memorial: Spontaneity and Sympathy

I ventured to down to Copley Square in Boston this Saturday.  An avid fan and patron of the Library, I’m usually down every other weekend, but following the Marathon bombings, I haven’t been able to go.  With a cautious reverence, I went to the now very familiar bombing locations.  I expected to see two holes in the sidewalk, extensive damage to the buildings, or something to mark the horror of April 15th, but there was nearly nothing.  Its true, Boston is in fact strong and cleans up well, but it felt eerily empty considering how many lives were changed along this street just a few weeks ago.  Not far away in Copley Square, a large “U”of police barricades and park benches had been transformed into a make-shift bombing memorial.

Boston Marathon Memorial

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