From Greece to Main Street

by: Angeli Marie C. Tomaneng (2011-46156)

Posted on: March 12, 2012, 3:45 PM

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The movie, Night at the Museum has always been one of my favorites. This is not only because I am a fan of adventure movies which brings spine-tingling excitement. It is mainly for the reason that this movie brings back the child in me. I kid who lets her imagination run wild to a whole different extent.

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With the second instalment of this movie, which is entitled, Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, I, a great fan, was once again thrilled. This movie featured a few famous architectural structures.  One of which is the Lincoln Memorial located in Washington DC. In the film, the two main cast, Larry Daley (played by Ben Stiller) and Amelia Earhart (played by Amy Adams) hid in the said structure while being chased by a group of Horus warriors. The movie also featured Abraham Lincoln’s gigantic monument coming to life and having a short witty conversation with the cast. This memorial was also shown in several other films like in the recent super hero movie, X-Men: First class as well as in the science fiction movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Lincoln Memorial was built to honor the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln. This memorial served as a tribute to Lincoln and the nation he fought to preserve during the Civil War. Lincoln Memorial is located in Potomac Park, Washington DC. This one of a kind structure is the combined work of the New York Beaux-Art architect Henry Bacon, the sculptor Daniel Chester French who worked on Lincoln’s enormous statue and lastly, the artist Jules Guerin who worked on the murals in the interior.

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It took approximately eight years to complete this monument, starting from the year 1914 and construction was completed in May 1922. This monument was styled after a Greek Doric temple but is considered Neoclassical in style. It has 36 Doric columns and each of these columns represent one state of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. The building measured 204 feet long, 134 feet wide and 99 feet tall with 44 foot columns all around.  The building also features 87 steps ascending to Lincoln’s statue from the Reflecting Pool, which is right across the memorial. The structure blends different kinds of stones from various states such as the white Colorado marble for the exterior, Indiana limestone for the interior walls, pink Tennessee marble for the floor, and Alabama marble for the ceiling. Just above the colonnade, names of the 50 state and the date in which they entered the Union are inscribed on the frieze. Along with this are ornaments in bas-relief such as double wreath, scrolls, ribbon and palm leaves. The Memorial’s interior is filled with symbolism. It features a mural painted by Guerin  portraying the governing principles evident in Lincoln’s life. On the south wall mural, “Freedom, Liberty, Immortality, Justice, and the Law” are pictured, while the north wall “Unity, Fraternity, and Charity”. Both murals contain a background of cypress trees, which is the symbol of Eternity.

Evidently, this memorial was greatly patterned after the Greek style. Greek architecture represents order, beauty and democracy which best describes this magnificent structure. Greek style never fails to inspire awe and appreciation through its huge stone columns, fine craftsmanship and stoic beauty and the Lincoln Memorial is really one of the excellent examples. This memorial features notable Greek style such as the Ionic and Doric columns, friezes and few other decorative elements. Another notable feature is the use of  perspective distortions. The columns, like the exterior walls and façades, are inclined slightly toward the building’s interior to make the memorial appear asymmetrical. 

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Going back several years ago, I had been to this historic monument climbing the stairs up to Lincoln’s statue. As far as my memory can bring me back, I can only remember how massive and exquisite the structure was. As a kid back then, I felt so small standing in such a huge space with the enormous columns, the statue which felt gazillion times as big as me and the high ceiling which seemed to reach the heavens. Personally, this just goes to show how great and loved Abraham Lincoln was as a person and as a leader.

 

Sources and Reference:

http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/lessons/grade-6-8/From_Greece_to_Main_Street.aspx

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5811128_greek-architecture-affect-today_.html

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h3232.html

http://architecture.about.com/od/usa/ig/Washington-DC/Lincoln-Memorial.htm

http://www.aviewoncities.com/washington/lincolnmemorial.htm

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/sites/memorial.htm

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/history/us/monuments/lincolnmemorial/

http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wash/dc71.htm

 

Photo Reference:

http://cdn4.gbot.me/photos/WV/gj/1284492400/Lincoln_Memorial-Lincoln_Memorial-3000000036219-500×375.jpg

http://www.mccullagh.org/db9/1ds2-4/lincoln-memorial-ceiling.jpg

http://www.hollywoodchicago.com/sites/default/files/slideshow/NATM2-16.jpg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/katiereihman/3147521641/

http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0025X4OSY.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln_memorial.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Lincoln-Memorial_WashingtonDC_Crop.jpg

 

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