Published by Cedric Benetti
on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 1/18/2010 05:16:00 PM.
The Main Reading Room of the Jefferson Building reflects its own time and prejudices. It emphasizes the achievements of western civilization, and most of the names and images on its walls evoke a society dominated by western thought. Thus, for many different reasons, the elaborate embellishment of the Building is worth careful attention. The building is celebratory, inspirational, and educational. Few structures represent human aspiration in such dramatic fashion.
Edwin Howland Blashfield's murals, which adorn the dome of the Main Reading Room, occupy the central and the highest point of the building and form the culmination of the entire interior decorative scheme.
The round mural set inside the lantern of the dome depicts Human Understanding, looking upward beyond the finite intellectual achievements represented by the twelve figures in the collar of the dome. These twelve seated figures represent the twelve countries, or epochs, which Blashfield felt contributed most to American civilization. To the immediate right of each figure is a tablet on which is inscribed the name of the country typified and, below this, the name of the outstanding contribution of that country to human progress.
Eight large statues can be seen above the giant marble columns that surround the reading room. They represent 8 categories of knowledge, each considered symbolic of civilized life and thought.
Sixteen bronze statues set along the balustrade of the galleries represent men renowned for their accomplishments in the categories of knowledge and activity described above.
I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...
places to go and weird stories to know about the city of lights... Improve your brain's useless knowledge parts, impress your neighbors, raise the roof, and anoy your friends with these funny facts and places