Sunday, February 15, 2015

Presidents on Presidents' Day

Statuary honoring presidents is scattered across the city, and I have barely begun to discover it.

In the city which cradled the United States, it is no surprise that the most monumental honor goes to George Washington. The Washington Monument holds center stage in Eakins Circle, at the foot of the steps of the Museum of Art.

The large and complex monument of bronze and granite is 44' high. Washington, soldier and statesman, gazes down Benjamin Franklin Parkway to City Hall at the other end - capped with the statue of William Penn, city founder and Quaker pacifist.

"Washington Monument" (1897) - Rudolph Siemering

The size of the monument makes it a challenging subject for the photographer. Its many elements make it a feast for the camera lens. I will return to it again. For now, details of the main figure, George Washington.

Washington Monument - detail, Washington mounted

Washington Monument - detail
In terms of stature and place in history, Garfield is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Washington. He was not an outstanding soldier, congressman, or statesman, and his presidential term was cut very short by an assassin. But the commission for his statue was given to Augustus Saint-Gaudens who gave the "James A. Garfield Monument" (1895) charm and accessibility. (Located on Kelly Drive south of Girard Avenue Bridge)

"James A. Garfield Monument" (1895) - Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Garfield Monument - detail
Garfield Monument - detail
Ulysses S. Grant has not been judged as a president with the greatest of kindness, but he was well liked by the public during his presidency, and admired through his life for his role in the Civil War.
His monument at the intersection of Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Drive was a collaboration between Daniel Chester French and Edward C. Potter, the latter noted for his modeling of horses.

General Ulysses S. Grant Monument (1897) - Daniel Chest French & Edward C. Potter

General Ulysses S. Grant Monument (1897)

General Grant Monument - detail

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