DC -- Natl Museum of American History -- Exhibit: Landmark Object: George Washington Statue, 1841:
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SIAHGW_020911_02.JPG: This statue of George Washington had been commissioned for the Capitol. It arrived in 1841and the public was astounded to see George draped in a toga. Still, he was installed in the Rotunda as planned only to find that the weight of the sculpture started to cause the floor to buckle. He was then moved to the grounds of the Capitol. Finally, in 1908, it was given to the Smithsonian which eventually placed it the Museum of American History.
SIAHGW_020911_04.JPG: Detail of the back of the sculpture of George Washington
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Description of Subject Matter: Landmark Object: George Washington Statue, 1841
When the Museum reopens November 21, 2008, each wing of its three exhibition floors will be anchored by a Landmark object—large, compelling artifacts that will highlight the theme of that wing. The exhibitions in the west wing of the second floor are focused on American lives and include “Within These Walls…” and “Communities in a Changing Nation: The Promise of 19th-Century America.” The George Washington statue is the signature artifact for this section of the museum.
In 1832 the U.S. Congress commissioned sculptor Horatio Greenough to create a statue of George Washington on the occasion of the centennial of the first president’s birthday. Installed in the Capitol Rotunda after its completion, Greenough envisioned the statue to be a symbolic representation of Washington as a great exemplar of liberty.
The completed 12-ton marble statue atop a granite pedestal and base depicted the first president wearing a chest-baring toga. While many viewers appreciated the artist’s attempt to create a timeless masterpiece, others saw only an inappropriately dressed Washington. A friend of the artist noted: “This magnificent production of genius does not seem to be appreciated at its full value in this metropolis.”
Greenough’s sculpture is enriched with symbols: Washington’s figure is modeled on the classic statuary of ancient Greece, seat of the world’s first democracy. Carvings on the sides depict the Greek god Apollo and an infant Hercules. Small flanking figures of an American Indian and Christopher Columbus represent the New and Old Worlds. The most important symbol, however, is the sword in Washington’s outstretched hand: this celebrates the fact that after he led the country to victory in the American Revolution, he selflessly relinquished his power to the people.
The statue was on display in the Capitol Rotunda from 1841 to 1843 when it was relocated to the east lawn. In 1908 Congress transferred the statue to the Smit ...More...
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2002 photos: Image quality isn't going to be very good for the first half of this year because these are scans of prints.
Equipment this year: I took the plunge and bought my first digital camera. It was August 2002 and I bought an Epson PhotoPC 3100Z. While a nice camera, it had some quirks and bumping it would result in it being totally out of focus until you manually shut it down -- something which blurred almost every picture I took in New York City one day.
Trips this year: Two weeks out west, one week in New York, and one week down south.
This was the year I started the photo web site. It started to come together in August 2002, mostly as a way of allowing me to keep track of the pictures I was taking. It took awhile to add some basic bells and whistles (logging didn't get added until November) but it's been pretty much like it started out since then. Archaic but working, and free!
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