Caleruega Retreat Center (Nasugbu, Batangas)

Dominicum (Caleruega Retreat Center)

After a filling lunch at Josephine’s Restaurant in Tagaytay City, Mark, Jandy, Vicky, Marc, Bryan and I opted to go on a sightseeing trip.  Back on Mark’s Starex van, we traveled a further 15.7 kms. (25 mins.) to the town of Nasugbu, in the adjoining province of Batangas, where we were to visit the much hyped up retreat center and wedding venue called Caleruega. Designed by Arch. Yolanda D. Reyes (Dean of UST’s College of Architecture) and built in 1995, Caleruega was set up as a venue for retreats and seminars of the Dominican institutions.

Mark (center) and Vicky (right) exploring the grounds

 

The much-publicized wedding of Christopher de Leon and Sandy Andolong gave Caleruega its early exposure and, today, it is a lovely setting for an out of town wedding for brides and grooms.  Even movies and television ads producers have taken notice.

United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) 1996 Design Award in Architecture

From the highway, we turned into of a long, rough, bumpy and isolated road, at the end of which is the sprawling, 8-hectare property owned by the Dominican Fathers. We parked our van just outside.  Past brick-paved rotunda and fountain is the Dominicum (which we mistook to be a chapel), the receiving hall for visitors and those having their retreats at the place.

Perched atop an elevation with a 21 steps leading up to it, its two level Moorish and Spanish-style facade has a segmental arched main entrance flanked by square pilasters and niches with statues of Thomas Aquinas and Catherine of Sienna, both doctors of the church, at the ground level.

Stairway leading up to the Dominicum

The main entrance is topped, at the second level, by a semicircular arched window with the stained glass image of St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican order.  This window is flanked by smaller semicircular arched windows with stained glass images of his father’s coat-of-arms on the left and his mother’s coat-of-arms on the right.

Stained glass window depicting St. Dominic

The four square pilasters (two reaching up to the pediment) are topped by pineapple (probably hinting at its proximity to Tagaytay)-shaped finials.  The undulating pediment has a bell-gable (espadana) at the center.

Grand stairway

Inside is a grand, elegantly curving staircase (unfortunately, off limits to visitors), a gift house (where one can buy souvenir shirts, trinkets and religious items) on the left, a mess hall on the right and a corridor that leads to the gardens.

Mess hall

From the Dominicum, pathways, following the natural curves and slope of the hill, lead us into a garden bursting with color and life. It was easy to fall in love with the serenity and beauty of this gorgeous retreat sanctuary with its abundant and colorful varieties of flowers, lush plants and trees and walking paths.

In the comforting company of nature, one can sit on solitary park benches, found in niches, and gaze at the 180-degree view of cobalt-blue skies,  the rolling, verdant hills and mountains and the plains. Caleruega’s tag line, “Closer to Nature, Closer to God,” is a fitting description of this nourishing sanctuary.

Lining the pathway are functional dormitories, cottages and overnight guests plus an interesting gazekubo, a conference hall that mixes the elements of a gazebo and a bahay kubo, with adobe stone walls roof made with once brown pawid (now green with small plant growth).

Gazekubo

The many signs and symbols of the Dominicans were abundantly integrated into the architecture.  The motif of the Dominican star (Joanna of Aza, St. Dominic’s mother, saw a star on her son’s forehead, a sign that he would eventually spread light to the world), as well as the sun, can be consistently seen in the refreshing fountain on the driveway, capiz windows, grilles and even inside cottages in the retreat center.

There were also viewing decks where one can witness the stunning show and the magical moment of the sun setting between the two rugged peaks of Batulao (incidentally, the name Batulao is derived from the words bato, meaning “stone,” and “ilaw or “light”), creating the perfect mood for love. St. Dominic’s Point, another beautiful vantage point, has a statue of St. Dominic, his feet lined with a star formation of fuchsia plants.  Rosary Lane, framed by the rolling hills of Mt. Batulao, has a statue of the Mother and Child sitting in prayer, each clutching a rosary.

At the peak was the famed, stunning and quaint Transfiguration Chapel with its Moorish-style facade done in red brick and painted concrete. When we arrived, a wedding was ongoing inside the chapel.  Patterned after the original Caleruega Chapel in Spain, it can fit only 150 people.  Its door has a brass sculpture of seven grapevines (symbolizing the Seven Sacraments).

Transfiguration Chapel

The chapel’s interior, finished with varnished wood and painted concrete, has a lectern with Biblical images of the mustard seed while the tabernacle has a burning bush design.  The altar, made from a carved tree trunk, signifies the Stem of Jesse in the Book of Isaiah. The birds, at the communion table, symbolize God’s providence.

The chapel interior with its centerpiece stained glass window featuring the Transfiguration – Moses on the left, Jesus at center and the prophet Elijah at the right

The stained glass windows of the chapel, giving a very soft and warm glow to the interior (an atmosphere conducive for prayers and reflections), were impressive. On the facade is the seal of the Dominican Province of the Philippines. Inside is the centerpiece of the church floor to ceiling stained glass of the figures of Transfiguration (Jesus, Moses and Elijah).

The author at the Transfiguration Chapel

In front of the chapel is “Thy Will Be Done,” a metal sculpture with arms outstretched done by Baguio City artist Benhur Villanueva. Surrounding the chapel are carefully selected plants and trees (the planted pine trees even mimic the Mediterranean setting where St. Dominic was born in 1170 in Caleruega in Old Castile).

Thy Will Be Done (Benhur Villanueva)

Caleruega is a lovely, quiet and soothing addition to the 39 Catholic houses (retreat houses, formation houses, seminaries and contemplative groups) tucked along Tagaytay Ridge as well as over a dozen Christian lay communities and prayer houses.

Caleruega Retreat Center: Bgry. Kaylaway, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas.  Mobile number: (0921) 270-9890 and (0921) 830-4226.  E-mail: caleruega_philippines@yahoo.com. Open daily, 8 AM – 12 noon and 1 – 5 PM. A mass is held every Sunday at 11 AM.

How to Get There:
Coming from Tagaytay City, board a Nasugbu bound bus and ask the driver to drop you off at Evercrest where there’s a tricycle station.  Here, you can hire a tricycle for a two-way trip to Caleruega.

Hong Kong Cultural Centre (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong Cultural Center

The Hong Kong Cultural Centre (Chinese: 香港文化中心), a multipurpose performance facility, is one of the most iconic cultural buildings in the city.  Together with the adjacent historic historic Clock Tower,  they are tourist favorites for grabbing photos of Victoria Harbor.

The center is located on the southwestern tip of Tsim Sha Tsui, on the former location of the Kowloon Station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Adjacent to the centre on the west is the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier of the Star Ferry, while to the east are the Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Check out “Hong Kong Space Museum

Built and operated by the former Urban Council , its construction was started in 1986 and the venue was officially opened on November 8, 1989, in a ceremony officiated by Charles, Prince of Wales and Princess Diana who unveiled a commemorative plaque.

Auditoria Building

The center opened with the International Celebration of the Arts, a special program that ran from November 5 to December 6.  The program showcased Hong Kong musicians, Kunju opera, Cantonese music and performances by a range of international artists including the Cologne Opera, the Alban Berg QuartettSadao Watanabe, and the first Hong Kong appearance of guitarist John Williams.

Studio Theatre

Since 2000, it has been administered by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government.  Today, this curved and concave shaped building is the go-to venue for a wide variety of cultural performances such as international touring theatre shows, world-class concerts, opera and performances. The trademark beige bricks of the building also make it a popular background for wedding photo shoots.

The 2,019-seat Concert Hall, the home of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, is an oval two-tiered auditorium.  The acoustics in the Concert Hall are often praised for elevating any musical performances thanks to its high quality oak panels and ceiling.

It includes an adjustable acoustic canopy and curtains and houses an 8,000-pipe, 93-stop pipe organ, the largest mechanical tracker action organ in Asia.  Built by Austrian firm Rieger Orgelbau at the cost of $10 million, it was installed from August to November in 1989.  It has been recorded by Christopher Herrick on Organ Fireworks VIII.

The Grand Theatre, designed for large scale opera, ballet, and musicals, has 1,734 seats in three tiers. The annual Hong Kong Film Award presentation ceremony also takes place there. The Studio Theatre, with 300 to 496 seats (depending upon the set-up), can accommodate smaller-scale theatre and performance works.  The center also has an Exhibition Gallery, 4 foyer exhibition areas and 11 rehearsal and practice rooms.

Hong Kong Cultural Centre: L5, Auditoria Building, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Tel: +852 2734 2009. Website: www.lcsd.gov.hk.

How to Get There: The centre is adjacent to the Star Ferry Pier (you can also take the Star Ferry from Central or Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui and walk to the centre) and the Star Ferry bus terminus served by Kowloon Motor Bus. It is also within walking distance to Tsim Sha Tsui Station (Exit E) and East Tsim Sha Tsui Station (Exit L6 or J), which serve the Tsuen Wan Line and West Rail Line respectively.

 

Heritage of Cebu Monument (Cebu City, Cebu)

Heritage of Cebu Monument

The Heritage of Cebu Monument, a visually and contextually interesting tableau of concrete, bronze, brass and steel sculptures in the historic Parian District, shows scenes of significant and symbolic events in the history of Cebu back from the time of Rajah Humabon to the recent beatification of the Cebuano martyr, Pedro Calungsod.

Battle of Mactan

It was built on the site of the St. John the Baptist Church which was demolished in 1875 by the diocese of Cebu.  This work of art stands on a traffic circle, with narrow streets flanking the sides. Across the street is the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House.

Check out “Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

Galleon Trade

The late, multi-awarded Cebuano sculptor Eduardo Castrillo designed and conceptualized the monument and, with the late Senator Marcelo Fernan, together with donations from other private individuals and organizations, funded the construction of the monument.

Plaque

Construction began in July 1997 and, after three years, the monument was inaugurated on December 8, 2000.

Magellan’s Cross

The structures carved into the huge monolith are the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the St. John the Baptist Church, the Magellan’s Cross, and a Spanish Galleon while scenes depicted are the baptism of Rajah Humabon and his followers to Christianity, the local revolution against the Spanish rule, a procession of the Santo Niño, a Roman Catholic mass, and the April 21, 1521 Battle of Mactan between Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The persons depicted in the monument include the late president Sergio Osmena Sr. and St. Pedro Calungsod.

Spanish Galleon

Heritage of Cebu Monument: Sikatuna St., Plaza Parian, Cebu City, Cebu.

How to Get There: Jeepneys along Colon Street, with the signboard showing “SM” and “Pier,” pass by the monument. You may also take a taxicab as most drivers are familiar with the place. From Ayala Center or SM, it is a 15-20 min. taxi ride.

Church of the Holy Trinity (Loay, Bohol)

Church of the Holy Trinity

Upon arrival in Loay, our van entered the  church complex via the short bend from the road to Loboc. This old and charming church, built on top of a plateau overlooking the sea, near the mouth of the Loboc River, is also reached by short flight of stairs from the main highway.

The church after the October 15, 2013 earthquake (photo: Wikipedia)

Built with cut coral stone, it is cruciform in plan, with a low quadrangular pyramid atop the crossing, and was probably finished in 1822. The church was recently declared as a National Cultural Treasure and National Historical Landmark in 2003.

The restored portico facade

The church has two facades: an inner (1822), decorated with low relief (atop the inner doorway is inscribed the year 1822, indicating its presumed date of completion), and an outer three-level Neo-Classical portico-façade (apparently completed in the 20th century as its upper register is in reinforced concrete).

NHI Plaque.  It states that a certain Fr. Leon Inchausti was once assigned to this parish, that he was subsequently martyred during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and that he was canonized in 1999 and is now a saint

It has a semicircular arched main entrance (which formerly had a Latin inscription “Deus Trinus et Unus” above it, alluding to the parish’s dedication to the Holy Trinity) at the first level, rectangular windows on the second level and a low triangular pediment topped by allegorical figures of Faith, Hope and Charity. The sides of the church are reinforced by huge buttresses.

The ceiling murals obscured by a maze of scaffolding

During the October 15, 2013 earthquake, the church’s portico-facade fell down but, during our visit, it had already been restored. Inside, there were still a lot of scaffolding with repair work still ongoing.  The painted trompe o’eil ceiling is filled with murals of Biblical scenes finished by Ray Francia on June 15, 1927.

The colonnaded main altar has a Neo-Classic retablo with images of the Holy Trinity (with God the Father seated on the right, God the Son on the left, and God the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove above them) topped by a baldaquin.

There’s also a massive pipe organ installed in 1841 and a pulpit topped by a torravoz with Neo-Gothic dome and fringed by a “lacework” of metal and wood.

Stairs leading to the choir loft

The separate, three-storey octagonal bell tower, topped by a domed roof, was built by Fr. Carlos Ubeda (1859 to 1865).  The stone and wood convent now houses the Holy Trinity Academy, founded in 1947.

The separate, 3-storey bell tower

Church of the Holy Trinity: Tel: (038) 538-9158 and (038) 501-1145. Feast of the Holy Trinity: Trinity Sunday (May).

How to Get There: Loay is located 22.1 kms. (a 30-min. drive) east of Tagbilaran City.

Bohol Tourism Office: Governor’s Mansion Compound, C.P.G. Ave. North, Tagbilaran City, 6300 Bohol.  Tel: +63 38 501-9186.  E-mail: inquire@boholtourismph.com.

Panglao Bluewater Resort: Bluewater Rd., Sitio Daurong, Brgy. Danao, Panglao, 6340 Bohol.  Tel: (038) 416-0702 and (038) 416-0695 to 96. Fax: (038) 416-0697.  Email: panglao@bluewater.com.ph. Website: www.bluewaterpanglao.com.ph.  Manila sales office: Rm. 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, Rufino cor. Valera Sts., Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City, Metro Manila.  Tel: (632) 817-5751 and (632) 887-1348.  Fax: (632) 893-5391.

Church of Our Lady of the Pillar (Sibonga, Cebu)

Church of Our Lady of the Pillar

Part 9 of the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa-sponsored City Tour

This southern Cebu town’s present stone and brick church was started by Fr. Juan Alonso (parish priest from 1868 to 1881) and finished by Fr. Enrique Magaz in 1881. Fr. Emiliano Diez was applying the finishing touches when the revolution broke out in 1898.

The simple and bare, Pseudo-Gothic facade

In 1907, the church was restored and blessed by Msgr. Jeremiah James Harty, Archbishop of Manila, American Bishop Thomas Hendrick and 17 other priests.

NHCP Plaque

On December 2, 2010, a cast-iron national historical marker was unveiled at the church’s facade by National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Ambeth R. Ocampo along with Sibonga’s parish priest Fr. Leo Cabahug and the Sibonga Ecclesiastical Heritage Commission’s president Dr. Noel Ponce.

The convent

The solid and beautiful convent was built by Fr. Prospero Puerto (parish priest from 1833 to 1868) following the plans of Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon. The oldest bell, dedicated to Santa Filomena, was installed in 1863. The bell tower was destroyed during the typhoon of November 25, 1877.

The church’s beautiful interior

The altar

The church’s simple and bare, Pseudo-Gothic façade, divided into three sections by shallow pilasters, has a flame-like arched main entrance flanked by massive twin bell towers with pyramidal roofs and flame-like arched windows. The Gothic-style triangular pediment has a rose window sporting the Augustinian seal in wrought iron.

Left side retablo

Right side retablo

The one-nave interior, clearly influenced by Carcar City’s Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, has a wooden colonnade and a mesmerizing series of  ceiling murals at the nave.

Baptism

Confirmation

Holy Communion

 

Matrimony

Holy Orders

Extreme Unction

Penance

Painted in amber and brownish tones by famed Cebuano artist Raymundo Francia (popularly called the “Michaelangelo of Cebu”) in 1924, they feature the  Seven Sacraments (“Baptism,” “Confirmation,” “Extreme Unction,” “Penance,” “Matrimony,” “Holy Communion” and “Holy Orders”).

Christians Defending Their Faith

Christ Purging the Temple

At the entrance vestibule are the ceiling frescoes  “Christians Defending Their Faith” and “Christ Purging the Temple.” The “Creation of the World,” the mural above the altar, shows the Biblical scene of the seven days of creation (Genesis). The ceiling of the side aisles was expertly painted to create an optical illusion of a coffered ceiling woodwork. 

The Creation of the World

Optical illusion of coffered woodwork at ceiling

Church of Our Lady of the Pillar: National Highway, Poblacion, 6020 Sibonga. Tel: (032) 486-9390. Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar: October 12.

How To Get There: Sibonga is located 60.7 kms. south of Cebu City.

Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa: Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015, Cebu. Tel: (032) 492-0100. Fax: (032) 492-1808.  E-mail: maribago@bluewater.com.ph.   Website: www.bluewatermaribago.com.ph.  Metro Manila sales office: Rm. 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 Herrera cor. Valero Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City, Metro Manila. Tel: (02) 887-1348 and (02) 817-5751. Fax: (02) 893-5391.

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria (Carcar City, Cebu)

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Part 7 of the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa-sponsored City Tour

Carcar City is noted for its striking examples of preserved colonial architecture, both from the Spanish and American eras. The most notable structure is the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Around 1622, the town’s first convent and church was burned when Muslims sacked the town.

The church’s Graeco-Tuscan facade

The present masonry church, probably the second or third church, was built on a hill for greater security. It was started by Fr. Antonio Manglano in 1860, continued by Fr. Gabriel Gonzalez in 1865 and completed (including the interior painting) by Fr. Manuel Fernandez Rubio in 1875. Its roof was blown away during the November 25, 1876, typhoon.

An array of statues of some of the 12 Apostles at the church patio

Statue of Judas Iscariot, now painted white

Its lovely and massive Graeco-Tuscan façade, with its strong Muslim influence, has a double recessed arched main entrance (similar to an iwan of a Middle Eastern mosque), a blind wheel rose window below the upper recessed arch (above it is a carved Augustinian symbol), spandrels with geometric flora and a Baroque pediment on a high entablature, which crowns the middle segment.

The church’s interior

The lower story is flanked by a one-story structure corresponding to the aisles flanking the 68-m. long, 22-m. wide and 12-m. high-main nave. Neo-Classical altars, a coffered ceiling and carved cherub heads located along the arcade separating the nave from the aisle embellish the church’s interior.

The church patio, surrounded by a low fence of coral stone and wrought iron, has statues of the 12 Apostles, all painted white.  The statue of Judas Iscariot, standing all alone on a pedestal in front of the convent, used to be painted black but is now in white.

The Neo-Clasical main altar

The twin Muslim-like bell towers have solid geometric pylons which act as buttresses, and have no openings except at the third storey where ogee arches are used for the bells. This level ends up in onion-shaped domes reminiscent of minarets. One of its bells bears the date 1810, suggesting that a church was already in place by the early 19th century.

The church pulpit

Fr. Manuel Fernandez Rubio also built the masonry and wood convent, established on May 23, 1559, under the advocacy of the Visitation of the Virgin. An independent structure separated from the church by a road, it measures 33 m. in front and 22 m. at the side.  The convent sank during the November 25, 1876, typhoon.

The choir loft

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria: Tel: (032) 257-3272. Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandra: November 25.

How to Get There: Carcar City is located 42 kms. (a 1-hour drive) south of Cebu City.

Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa: Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015, Cebu. Tel: (032) 492-0100. Fax: (032) 492-1808.  E-mail: maribago@bluewater.com.ph.   Website: www.bluewatermaribago.com.ph.  Metro Manila sales office: Rm. 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 Herrera cor. Valero Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City, Metro Manila. Tel: (02) 887-1348 and (02) 817-5751. Fax: (02) 893-5391.

Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi (Naga City, Cebu)

Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi

Part 4 of the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa-sponsored City Tour

The town’s coral and limestone church was built by Fr. Simon Aguirre in 1839 following plans prepared by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon.  Its bell tower was destroyed by the November 25, 1876 typhoon, repaired, destroyed again in 1942 and rebuilt in 1974 by Msgr. Cesar Alcoseba. On October 3, 2007, the church was upgraded as an archdiocesan shrine.

The unusual Baroque facade that suggests Mexican art

The convent was started in 1864 by Fr. Enrique Magaz, continued in 1882 by Fr. Gregorio Ros and finished in 1887 by Fr. Roman Gonzalez.  It was destroyed in 1942 and rebuilt in 1974 by Msgr. Cesar Alcoseba. During World War II, the original bell tower was destroyed and portions of the church were damaged. A new separate bell tower was built in 1979.

The side of the church

The church has one main nave, a transept and measures 75 m. long, 15.4 m. wide and 10.6 m. wide.  Angels and gargoyles guard its doors. It’s simple interior, relatively unchanged since it was built over a century ago, features a dropped ceiling bearing geometric patterns and a gilded retablo and cornices adorning the Corinthian pillars and side walls.  A huge statue of St. Francis of Assisi adorns the patio adjacent to the church.

The church interior

The unusual Baroque-style façade, suggestive of Mexican art that is skillfully integrated into the local Filipino religious architecture, has no distinct architectural style.  It has twin minaret-shaped buttresses with projecting domes and is divided into lower and upper rectangular panels.

The main and two side retablos

The bare lower panel has a triangular arched recessed main entrance with molded door jambs flanked by six square columns while the overly-decorated upper panel has a miniature retablo (the cross with outgoing rays represent the expansion of the Christian faith) flanked by two sets of tiny columns and a frieze heavily-decorated with ornamental Roman-like acanthus leaf patterns and self-repeating designs divided into several rows.

Plaque

The pediment has a centrally located niche flanked by two sets of tiny columns with the Biblical saying Predicate Evangelicum omni creaturae.  It is also decorated with winged cherubs, rosettes, dancette or zigzag molding (below the raking cornice) and other embellishments. The symbols of the Cross, the Lamb of Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Monstrance are supported by ornamented columns resting on atlantes.

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi

Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi: Cebu South Rd. Tel: (032) 489-9799  and (032) 272-2123. Feast of St. Francis of Assisi: October 10.

How To Get There: Naga is located 21.7 kms. south of Cebu City.

Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa: Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015, Cebu. Tel: (032) 492-0100. Fax: (032) 492-1808.  E-mail: maribago@bluewater.com.ph.   Website: www.bluewatermaribago.com.ph.  Metro Manila sales office: Rm. 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 Herrera cor. Valero Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City, Metro Manila. Tel: (02) 887-1348 and (02) 817-5751. Fax: (02) 893-5391.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C., USA)

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, an art museum  sited halfway between the Washington Monument and the US Capitol, anchoring the southernmost end of the so-called L’Enfant axis (perpendicular to the Mall’s green carpet), is part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Interior court and fountain

Conceived as the United States’ museum of contemporary and modern art, it currently focuses its collection-building and exhibition-planning mainly on the post–World War II period, with particular emphasis on art made during the last 50 years. The museum has a budget of US$8 million, which does not include the US$10 to US$12 million in operational support supplied by the Smithsonian Institution.

Geometric Mouse, Variation I, Scale A (Claes Oldenburg, 1971)

The museum was initially endowed, during the 1960s, with the permanent art collection of more than 6,000 items of Joseph H. Hirshhorn (who enjoyed great success from uranium-mining investments), started  in his forties, which consisted of works from classic French Impressionism as well as those by living artists, American modernism of the early 20th century, and sculpture brought from the Hirshhorns’ Connecticut estate and other properties.

Subcommitee (Tony Cragg, 1991, steel)

Here is the museum’s historical timeline:

  • In 1966, an Act of Congress established the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Most of its funding was federal, but Hirshhorn later contributed US$1-million toward its construction.
  • On July 1967, an original plan, with an elongated, sunken rectangle crossing the Mall with a large reflecting pool across the Mall, designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, was approved.
  • In 1969, groundbreaking takes place on the former site of the Army Medical Museum and Library (built in 1887) after the brick structure was demolished.
  • On July 1, 1971, after excavation was started, a revised design, with a smaller footprint, was approved. The revised design, deliberately stark, using gravel surfaces and minimal plantings to visually emphasize the works of art, also shifted the garden’s Mall orientation from perpendicular to parallel and reduces its size from 8,100 sq. m. (2 acres) to 5,300 sq. m. (1.3 acres).
  • In 1974, the museum was opened with three floors of painting galleries, a fountain plaza for sculpture, and the Sculpture Garden. In the first six months, one million visitors saw the 850-work inaugural show.
  • In the summer of 1979, the Sculpture Garden was closed.
  • In September 1981, the Sculpture Garden was reopened after a renovation and redesign by Lester Collins, a well-known landscape architect and founder of the Innesfree Foundation. The design introduces plantings, paved surfaces, accessibility ramps, and areas of lawn.
  • In 1985, the Museum Shop is moved to the lobby, increasing exhibition space at its former location on the lower level.
  • On December 1991, the Hirshhorn Plaza is closed.
  • In 1993, Hirshhorn Plaza is reopened after a renovation and redesign by landscape architect James Urban. The 11,000 sq. m. (2.7-acre) area around and under the building is repaved in two tones of gray granite, and raised areas of grass and trees are added to the east and west.
  • In 2013, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden drew around 645,000 visitors.
  • In 2014, the Museum Shop is moved back to the lower level.

Museum Shop

Here are some technical information on the museum:

  • The building and its walls were surfaced with precast concrete aggregate of “Swenson” pink granite
  • The building has a diameter of 231 ft., 115 ft. for the interior court and 60 ft. for the fountain.
  • The building is 82 ft. high and elevated 14 ft. on 4 massive, sculptural piers.
  • The museum provides 5,600 sq. m. (60,000 sq. ft.) of exhibition space on three floors inside and nearly 4 acres outside in its two-level Sculpture Garden and plaza for a total of 197,000 sq. ft. of total exhibition space, indoors and outdoors.
  • It has a 274-seat auditorium at the lower level.
  • There are 2.7 acres around and under the museum building.
  • The 1.3-acre Sculpture Garden, across Jefferson Drive, was sunk 6–14 ft. below street level and ramped for accessibility.
  • The second and third floor galleries have 15-ft. high walls, with exposed 3-ft. deep coffered ceilings.
  • The lower level includes exhibition space, storage, workshops, offices while the fourth floor includes offices and storage.

Pumpkin (Yayoi Kusama, 2016)

The building, an open cylinder elevated on four massive “legs,” with a large fountain occupying the central courtyard, itself is an attraction.  The new federal museum’s modern look and intrusively expansive sculptural grounds is a striking contrast to everything else in the city.

Still Life with Spirit and Xtile (Jimmie Durham, 2007)

At the museum entrance is the deceptively simple Still Life with Spirit and Xitle , one of the most well-known works of art by artist Jimmie Durham (a sculptor who is known for his sense of humor and irreverence), features a slapstick disaster scene (intended to capture the clash between industrial and ancient spirits) of a 1992 Chrysler Spirit being crushed by a 9 ton red basalt boulder with a comical smiley face painted on it.

Woman Verso Untitled (Willem de Kooning, 1948)

Woman Before an Eclipse With Her Hair Disheveled by the Wind (Joan Miro, oil on canvas, 1967)

Notable artists in the Hirshhom collection include Pablo PicassoHenri MatisseMary CassattThomas EakinsHenry MooreJackson PollockMark RothkoFranz KlineHans HofmannMorris LouisKenneth NolandJohn ChamberlainFrancis BaconWillem de KooningMilton AveryEllsworth KellyLouise NevelsonArshile GorkyEdward HopperLarry Rivers, and Raphael Soyer among others.

Sleeping Muse I (Constantin Brancusi, 1909-1910, marble)

The Master Works from the Hirshhorn Collection, on view from June 9, 2016 to September 4, 2017, is a new rehanging of the permanent collection galleries at the third-level.  It features more than 75 works in virtually all media, highlights of Joseph Hirshhorn’s original gift, alongside some of the newest additions to the collection.

Untitled – Big Man (Ron Mueck, 2000, pigmented polyester resin on fiberglass)

They include several major artworks returning to view after more than a decade (such as Candian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle’s 1964 Large Triptych), as well as in-depth installations devoted to some of the most important artists in the collection.

Large Triptych (Jean-Paul Riopelle, 1964, oil on canvas)

Dog (Alberto Giacometti, 1951-57)

Exhibited are more than a dozen paintings and works on paper by Dutch abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning alongside sculptures by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, two of the 20th century’s greatest figurative artists.

Eleven A.M. (Edward Hopper, 1928, oil on canvas)

The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire (Ed Ruscha, 1965-68, oil on canvas)

Other cornerstones of the collection on view are Constantin Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse I (1909–10), Edward Hopper’s Eleven A.M. (1926), Edward Ruscha’s The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire (1965–68), French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ Legs (1986/cast 2008) and Australian sculptor Ron Mueck’s Untitled (Big Man) (2000).

Window (Gerhard Richter, 1968, oil on canvas)

The End of Ending (Eduardo Basualdo, 2012)

In an adjacent room is The End of Ending (2012), a massive sculptural installation by Argentinian artist Eduardo Basualdo which occupies all but a sliver of walkable space in a gallery. R.S.V.P. X (1976/2014), the performative sculpture  by African-American Senga Nengudi (among a group of artists in 1970’s Los Angeles who explored conceptual art in their pursuit of a distinctly African-American aesthetic), also appears at the museum for the first time.

Spearfishing (Peter Doig, 2013)

Siren of the Niger (Wilfredo Lam, 1950, oil and charcoal on canvas)

The exhibition is augmented by a special loan of Scottish painter Peter Doig’s painting Spearfishing (2013), which hangs alongside richly colored canvases by British figurative painter Francis Bacon, American painter Richard Diebenkorn and Cuban artist Wifredo Lam.

Field for Skyes (Joan Mitchell, 1973, oil on canvas)

1962-D (Clyfford Still, oil on canvas)

Some of the most recent additions to the Hirshhorn’s collection are represented by new cultural histories. O Abuso da História  (The Abuse of History, 2014) is a video, by Brazil-based Mexican artist Héctor Zamora, of a riotously destructive group performance at São Paulo’s historic Hospital Matarazzo.

From Continent to Continent (Mario Merz, 1985)

Iris, Messenger of the Gods (Auguste Rodin)

Cuban artist Reynier Leyva Novo’s 5 Nights (2014), from his series “The Weight of History,” in the Lerner Room (overlooking the National Mall), maps revolutionary 20th-century manifestos by Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and Muammar Gaddafi to conceptual monochromes, based on the amount of ink spilled in the writing of each text.

Markus Lupertz: Threads of History

The Markus Lupertz: Threads of History Exhibit, from May 24 to September 10, 2017, celebrates the pioneering early works of Markus Lüpertz (b. Liberec, Czech Republic, 1941), one of the most influential contemporary German artists who initiated a return to figurative painting during the late 1970s and 1980s, with an in-depth exploration of his groundbreaking paintings from the 1960s and 1970s.

Westwall – Siegfried Line (1968, distemper on canvas)

This exhibition brings more than 30 paintings to the National Mall including the 40-ft. long Westwall (Siegfried Line), a large-scale work on view for the first time in the US.

Tent – Dithyrambic (1965)

Motif – Dithyrambic II

Idyll IV (1969)

It coincides with The Phillips Collection’s exhibition Markus Lupertz (May 27 to September 3, 2017), which spans the artist’s entire career. Together, the two presentations form Lupertz’s first major US museum retrospective.

Our View from Here (Linn Meyers, 2016)

The Linn Meyers: Our View from Here Exhibition, from May 12, 2016 to August 13, 2017, creates the site-specific wall drawing Our View from Here, the largest work, to date, of American artist Linn Meyers (b. Washington, DC, 1968). Occupying the entire circumference of the inner ring galleries, it covers nearly 400 linear feet. This temporary drawing will be painted over at the end of the exhibition’s yearlong run.

Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn

Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn Exhibit, a collaborative artist project from June 28, 2017 to January 1, 2018, features the East Coast debut of the monumental installation Trace, which portrays 176 individuals, from more than 30 countries (the majority of whom are from Asia and the Middle East) whom Ai Weiwei (b. Beijing, 1957), one of China’s most provocative living artists, and various human rights groups consider to be activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech who have been detained, exiled, or have sought political asylum because of their actions, beliefs or affiliations.

Ai Weiwei

The work foregrounds Ai Weiwei’s own experiences of incarceration, interrogation, and surveillance. In 2011, he was detained by the Chinese government for 81 days and then, until 2015, prohibited from traveling abroad.  Each of these portraits, comprising thousands of plastic Lego bricks, were assembled by hand and laid out on the floor.

Trace.  On the right wall is the 360-degree wallpaper installation entitled The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama but Is Really an Alpaca

Complementing the display of Trace is a new 360-degree wallpaper installation entitled The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama but Is Really an Alpaca. At first glance, the repeating graphic pattern looks merely decorative.  However, at closer inspection, it reveals surveillance cameras, handcuffs, and Twitter bird logos (which allude to Ai Weiwei’s tweets challenging authority). Together, both massive works span nearly 700 linear feet around the Hirshhorn’s second floor Outer Ring galleries.

The Last Conversation Piece (Juan Munoz, 1994-95, bronze)

The Sculpture Garden, outside the museum, features works by artists including Auguste RodinDavid SmithAlexander CalderJean-Robert IpoustéguyJeff Koons, and others. A permanent installation and a major attraction, since 2007, in the Sculpture Garden is Yoko Ono‘s famous Wish Tree for Washington, DC.

Are Years What? (Mark di Suvero)

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: 700 Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW, National Mall, Washington, D.C. 20560, United States.  Website: www.hirshhorn.si.edu. Admission is free.  Open daily, 10 AM – 5:30 PM.

National World War II Memorial (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.)

National World War II Memorial

The National World War II Memorial, an American memorial of national significance, sits on a 30,000 m2  (7.4-acre) piece of land (two-thirds of which is landscaping and water) on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The granite pillars

The memorial is dedicated to those who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. It consists of 56 5.2 m. (17 ft.) tall granite pillars,  arranged in a semicircle, and a pair of small 13 m. (43-ft.) high memorial triumphal arches (crafted by Rock of Ages Corporation, the northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic,” the southern one, “Pacific“), on opposite sides, surrounding a plaza and fountain.

The author with the Atlantic Arch in the background

Its design was based on Friedrich St. Florian‘s initial design, selected in 1997 during a nationwide design competition that drew 400 submissions from architects from around the country but altered during the review and approval process. On September 2001, ground was broken and the construction was managed by the General Services Administration.

The Pacific Arch

Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29, 2004. On November 1, 2004, the memorial became a national park  when authority over it was transferred to the National Park Service (under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group). As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year. In 2012, the memorial’s fountain was renovated.

The memorial’s fountain

Each of the 56 pillars, all consisting of oak (symbolizing military and industrial strength) laurel wreaths and wheat (symbolizing agricultural and breadbasket during the U.S. part in the war) laurel wreath. is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 U.S. states (as of 1945), as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska TerritoryTerritory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the PhilippinesPuerto RicoGuamAmerican Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The pillar of the Commonwealth of the Philippines

The plaza is 102.97 m. (337 ft., 10 in.) long and 73.2 m. (240 ft., 2 in.) wide and is sunk 1.8 m. (6 ft.) below grade.  It contains a pool that is 75.2 × 45 m. (246 ft., 9 in. by 147 ft., 8 in.). The memorial also includes two, inconspicuously located “Kilroy was here” engravings which acknowledges the significance of the symbol to American soldiers during World War II and how it represented their presence and protection wherever it was inscribed.

Excerpt from a speech by Pres. Harry S. Truman

Excerpt from Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech

The lettering for the memorial was designed by the John Stevens Shop and most of the inscriptions were hand-carved in situ. Laran Bronze, in Chester, Pennsylvania, cast all the bronzes over the course of two and a half years.

Some of the inscriptions

The Battle of Midway

The baldacchinos of the Pacific and Atlantic Arches each have laurel wreaths suspended in the air, with 4 bronze eagles carrying it, all created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey. The stainless-steel armature that holds up the eagles and wreaths was designed at Laran, in part by sculptor James Peniston, and fabricated by Apex Piping of Newport, Delaware. The chandelier sculpture symbolizes the victory of the War with the Nation’s bird carrying a Grecian symbol of victory but with an American adaptation of oak laurel wreaths to symbolize strength.

Seal using the World War II Victory Medal design

On approaching the semicircle from the east, I walked along one of two walls (right side wall and left side wall) with 24 bronze bas-relief panels (also created by sculptor Raymond Kaskey) that depict wartime scenes of combat and the home front. The scenes, as I approached on the left (toward the Pacific Arch), begin with soon-to-be servicemen getting their physical exams, taking the oath, being issued military gear, and progresses through several iconic scenes, including combat and burying the dead, ending in a homecoming scene.

The memorial flagpole

There is a similar progression on the right-side wall (toward the Atlantic arch) but the scenes are generally more typical of the European theatre with some scenes taking place in England, depicting the preparations for air and sea assaults. The last scene is of a handshake between the American and Russian armies when the western and eastern fronts met in Germany.

The Price of Freedom

The Freedom Wall, on the west side of the memorial, has a view of the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial behind it. The wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of the wall lies the message “Here we mark the price of freedom”

Jandy at the fountain area

National World War II Memorial: National MallWashington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial (Washington D.C., U.S.A.)

The Neo-Classical Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial, an iconic American national monument built to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States,  is located on the western end of the National Mall , Situated on the Washington MonumentCapitol axis, this Neo-Classical monument overlooks the Potomac River, across from the Washington Monument. Behind it is the bridge to Arlington National Cemetery.  Dedicated in 1922, it is one of several monuments built to honor an American president.

Jandy with the memorial in the background

Since the time of Lincoln’s death, demands for a fitting national memorial had been voiced. In 1868, three years after Lincoln’s assassination, the first public memorial (a statue by Lot Flannery) to Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., was erected in front of the District of Columbia City Hall.

Abraham Lincoln

Here is the historical timeline of the statue’s construction:

  • In 1867,Congress passed the first of many bills incorporating a commission to erect a monument for the sixteenth president but the matter lay dormant.
  • At the start of the 20th century, under the leadership of Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, six separate bills were introduced in Congress for the incorporation of a new memorial commission. The first five bills, proposed in the years 1901, 1902, and 1908, met with defeat because of opposition from Speaker Joe Cannon. The sixth bill (Senate Bill 9449), introduced on December 13, 1910, passed.
  • In 1911, the Lincoln Memorial Commission had its first meeting and U.S. President William H. Taft was chosen as the commission’s president. Progress continued at a steady pace.
  • By 1913, Congress had approved of the Commission’s choice of design and location. With Congressional approval and a $300,000 allocation, the project got underway.
  • On February 12, 1914, a dedication ceremony was conducted
  • The following month, actual construction began.
  • As late as 1920, the decision was made to substitute an open portal for the bronze and glass grille which was to have guarded the entrance.
  • On May 30, 1922, Commission president William H. Taft (who was, by then, Chief Justice of the United States) dedicated the Memorial and presented it to Pres. Warren G. Harding, who accepted it on behalf of the American people. Lincoln’s only surviving son, 78-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance.  Robert Russa Moton, an African American educator and author, was one of the speakers at the dedication.

The Dedication

Here are some interesting trivia regarding the memorial:

  • In 2007, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) ranked the memorial as seventh, among 150 highest-ranked structures, in the AIA  List of America’s Favorite Architecture.
  • It has always been a major tourist attraction and, since 2010, approximately 6 million people visited the memorial annually.
  • Like other monuments on the National Mall – including the nearby Vietnam Veterans MemorialKorean War Veterans Memorial, and National World War II Memorial – the memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks
  • The memorial’s columns, exterior walls and facade are all inclined slightly toward the building’s interior to compensate for a common feature of Ancient Greek architecture – perspective distortions which would otherwise make the memorial appear to bulge out at the top when compared with the bottom.
  • Since the 1930s, the memorial has become a symbolically sacred center focused on race relations, especially for the Civil Rights Movement. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Marian Anderson, the African-American contralto,  to perform before an integrated audience at the organization’s Constitution Hall. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, at the suggestion of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, arranged for a performance, on Easter Sunday of that year, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a live audience of 70,000 and a nationwide radio audience.
  • Since October 15, 1966, the Memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The memorial grounds has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King Jr.‘s historic “I Have a Dream” speech honoring the president who had issued the Emancipation Proclamation 100 years earlier.  It was delivered on August 28, 1963, during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which proved to be a high point of the American Civil Rights Movement. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 people came to the event. The D.C. police also appreciated the location because it was surrounded on three sides by water, so that any incident could be easily contained.  On August 28, 1983, to reflect on progress in gaining civil rights for African Americans and to commit to correcting continuing injustices, crowds gathered again to mark the 20th anniversary of the Mobilization for Jobs, Peace and Freedom. In 2003, the spot on which King stood, on the landing 18 steps below Lincoln’s statue, was engraved in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the event.
  • The Memorial is replete with symbolic elements. The states of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death are represented by the 36 columns and the inscriptions (with the dates in which they entered the Union), separated by double wreath medallions in bas-relief, in a frieze above the colonnade. The 48 states in 1922 (the year of the Memorial’s dedication) are represented by the 48 stone festoons above the columns and inscriptions above the cornice, on the attic frieze.  The murals inside portray principles seen as evident in Lincoln’s life: Freedom, Liberty, Immortality, Justice, and the Law on the south wall; Unity, Fraternity, and Charity on the north. Cypress trees, representing Eternity, are in the murals’ backgrounds.
  • The statue has been at the center of two urban legends. Some claimed that the face of Gen. Robert E. Lee, looking back across the Potomac toward Arlington House, his former home (now within the bounds of Arlington National Cemetery), was carved onto the back of Lincoln’s head.  The second popular urban legend is that Lincoln is shown using sign language to represent the president’s initials (his left hand shaped to form an “A” and his right hand to form an “L”). The National Park Service denies both legends.
  • From 1959 (the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth) to 2008, the United States one cent coin depicted the memorial, with statue visible through the columns, on the reverse side.  The front bore a bust of Lincoln. The memorial also appears on the back of the U.S. five dollar bill.  The front bears Lincoln’s portrait.

The One Cent Coin

The Lincoln Memorial, as one of the most prominent American monuments, has been featured in books, films, and television shows that take place in Washington.  By 2003, it had appeared in over 60 films.  In 2009, Mark S. Reinhart compiled some short sketches of dozens of uses of the Memorial in film and television. As of 2017, according to the National Park Service, “Filming/photography is prohibited above the white marble steps and the interior chamber of the Lincoln Memorial.” Today, due to restrictive filming rules, many of the appearances of the Lincoln Memorial are actually digital visual effects.

Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool seen from the Lincoln Memorial

Here a list of some of the movie and television films the memorial has appeared in:

Some of the fluted Doric columns at the colonnade

The Memorial, designed by Illinois-born architect Henry Bacon, in the form of a classic Greek Doric temple, features Yule marble from Colorado. The structure measures 57.8 m. (189.7 ft.) by 36.1 m. (118.5 ft.) and is 30 m. (99 ft.) high. It is surrounded by a peristyle of 36 fluted Doric columns, one for each of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death, and two columns in-antis at the entrance behind the colonnade. Each of the 13 m. (44 ft.) high columns, with a base diameter of 2.3 m. (7.5 ft.), column, is built from 12 drums including the capital.

Cornice and frieze

Above the colonnade is a frieze.  The cornice, composed of a carved scroll regularly interspersed with projecting lions’ heads, is ornamented, along the upper edge, with palmetto cresting. A bit higher is a garland, joined by ribbons and palm leaves, and supported by the wings of eagles. All ornamentation on the friezes and cornices was done by Ernest C. Bairstow.

The Memorial’s 13 to 20 m. (44 to 66 ft.) deep concrete foundation, constructed by M. F. Comer and Company and the National Foundation and Engineering Company, is encompassed by a 57 by 78 m. (187 by 257 ft.) rectangular, 4.3 m. (14 ft.) high granite retaining wall.

The main steps leading up to the shrine on the east side, intermittently spaced with a series of platforms, begin at the edge of the shimmering Reflecting Pool, rise to the Lincoln Memorial Circle roadway surrounding the edifice, then to the main portal.  As they approach the entrance, the steps are flanked by two buttresses each crowned with a 3.4 m. (11-ft.) high tripod carved from pink Tennessee marble by the Piccirilli Brothers.

The author inside the Memorial

The Memorial’s interior is divided into three chambers by two rows of four 15 m. (50 ft.) high Ionic columns, each 1.7 m. (5.5 ft.) across at their base. The 18.3 m.(60 ft.) wide, 22.56 m. (74 ft.) deep, and 18.3 m. (60 ft.) high central chamber houses the statue of Lincoln while the north and south chambers display carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address, two well-known speeches by Lincoln.

Inscription of the Second Inaugural Address given March 4, 1865 by Lincoln barely one month before the end of the Civil War. Above it is the mural “Unity” done by Jules Guerin. The mural features the Angel of Truth joining the hands of two figures representing the North and South. Her protective wings cradle the arts of Painting, Philosophy, Music, Architecture, Chemistry, Literature, and Sculpture. Emerging from behind the music figure is a veiled image of the Future.

Pilasters, ornamented with fasces, eagles, and wreaths, border these inscriptions. Both inscriptions and adjoining ornamentation were done by Evelyn Beatrice Longman. Each inscription is surmounted by 18.3 by 3.7 m. (60 by 12 ft.) murals (“Unity,” above the Second Inaugural Address on the north wall, and “”Emancipation,” above the Gettysburg Address on the south chamber wall) by Jules Guerin.  The murals’ paint incorporated kerosene and wax to protect the exposed artwork from fluctuations in temperature and moisture.

The inscription of the Gettysburg Address on the south chamber wall. The Gettysburg Address was given by Lincoln on April 19, 1863 in Gettysburg at the dedication of Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Abraham Lincoln, 1920, the primary statue (of Georgia white marble) of the solitary figure of Lincoln sitting in contemplation, took four years to complete.  It was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers under the supervision of the sculptor, Daniel Chester French.

The sitting statue of Abraham Lincoln

The statue, originally designed to be 3.0 m. (10 ft.) tall, was, on further consideration, enlarged to 5.8 m. (19 ft.) tall, from head to foot (the scale being such that if Lincoln were standing, he would be 8.5 m. or 28 ft. tall), to prevent it from being overwhelmed by the huge chamber.  The widest span of the statue corresponded to its height.

Cheska and Kyle

 Lincoln’s arms rest on representations of Roman fasces.  This subtle touch associates the statue with the Augustan (and imperial) theme (obelisk and funerary monuments) of the Washington Mall.  Between two pilasters discretely bordering the statue (one on each side) and above Lincoln’s head, is engraved an epitaph of Lincoln by Royal Cortissoz.

The Lincoln statue up close.  The open hand represents compassion while the fist means decisiveness. The chair Lincoln is sitting on is Roman it is draped with the American flag.

The statue rests upon an oblong 3.0 m. (10 ft.) high, 4.9 m. (16 ft.) wide and 5.2 m. (17 ft.) deep pedestal of Tennessee marble, directly beneath which is a 10.5 m. (34.5 ft.) long, 8.5 m. (28 ft.) wide and 0.17 m. (6.5 in.) high platform of Tennessee marble. The statue weighed 159 tons (175 short tons) and was shipped in 28 pieces. 

The epitaph of Lincoln by Royal Cortissoz

The ceiling, consisting of bronze girders ornamented with laurel and oak leaves, is set between panels of Alabama marble (saturated with paraffin to increase translucency). Bacon and French felt that the statue required even more light to supplement the natural light so, in 1929, they designed and installed metal slats in the ceiling to conceal floodlights, which could be modulated. In the 1970s, an elevator for handicapped was added.

Bronze girders, ornamented with laurel and oak leaves, at the ceiling

Underneath the Lincoln Memorial are exhibits that provide information on the creation of the memorial and its famous subject.

Civil Rights Exhibit

Lincoln Memorial: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, USA. Open 24 hours. Rangers are on duty from 9:30 AM to 10 PM daily.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to the Lincoln Memorial is via Metrorail (the nearest Metro stations are Foggy Bottom and Smithsonian, both on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines) or Metrobus (take the 32, 34 or 36 routes). Capital Bikeshare also has a dock (Daniel French Drive SW) nearby.