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If one were to sit and marvel at the wondrous creations influenced by Greek architectures, they would never run out of examples even in real time. The futuristic approach along with ornamentation that spoke for itself are the highlights of Greek architecture (Lambrinou, L. 2018). It is said that the tendencies of Greek architecture and art is such that it is made to tell a very vital and significant message about the personality and life and ideals of the Greeks. In this sense, the creation then becomes a statement. The type of architecture becomes a medium of symbolism for of a once powerful population (Stephenson, C. T. 2016). The Parthenon, Athens
The modern day sit used for comparison is the Lincoln Memorial that was built as a tribute to commemorate the late 16th president Abraham Lincoln. It is located at Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037 on the west end of the National Mall. It is one of the most famous structures that follows the ancient Greek temple design with its 36 fluted columns and a deity statue in the middle of the memorial (the 99 foot marble statue of president Abraham Lincoln).
The memorial was designed by the architect Henry Bacon of New York who modelled it after the Greek temple, Parthenon (Umholtz, G. 2002). The elements of symbolism and the dominance of vision is truly illustrated in the monument as it heightens the perception of anyone who witnesses it. the architect had decided to the model the memorial after the birthplace of democracy for the man who had defended democracy.
The Lincoln memorial draws its inspiration from the classical period of Greek architecture and the same can be seen in various other American monuments, for example- the US capitol building and the Library of Congress. The three major systems of Greek architecture are the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian architectural styles and the Lincoln Memorial was built in this Greek revival style in 1922. The external columns are made of marble and use the Doric order (Netti, R. (2019). Most of the ancient Greek temples used the method of fluting their columns and carved frieze. It is said that each of those 36 external columns was built symbolize all the 36 states in union at the time of Lincoln’s death. The architecture inside all represents a deeper meaning. The terrace walls and lower steps were built with granite blocks from Massachusetts, marble from Colorado was used for the upper steps, outside front wall, and the external columns. the interior walls and columns were made of Indiana limestone while the floor was entirely made of pink marble that was brought in from Tennessee. The ceiling tiles were made up of Alabama marble, and the Lincoln statue was made of 28 pieces of marble from Georgia”. The symbolism that despite all the war and hatred a country could come together to actually build something together shines through alacrity of Greek Architecture. It synthesises the natural and unnatural to create and reinterpret American tradition in a timeless manner that can be celebrated for generations.
Umholtz, G. (2002). Architraval arrogance? Dedicatory inscriptions in Greek architecture of the Classical period. Hesperia, 261-293.
Netti, R. (2019). The colours of the ancient Greek architecture. Cultura e Scienza del Colore-Color Culture and Science, 11(02), 14-24.
Lambrinou, L. (2018). The Parthenon from the Greek Revival to modern architecture. In Hellenomania (pp. 126-161). Routledge.
Stephenson, C. T. (2016). FDR and Lincoln in Stone (and Bronze). Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln: Competing Perspectives on Two Great Presidencies: Competing Perspectives on Two Great Presidencies, 5, 128.
Leonardis, R. (2016). The use of geometry by ancient Greek architects. A companion to Greek architecture, 92-104.
Newton-Matza, M. (2016). LINCOLN MEMORIAL (WASHINGTON, DC). Historic Sites and Landmarks that Shaped America: From Acoma Pueblo to Ground Zero [2 volumes]: From Acoma Pueblo to Ground Zero, 322.
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