More DC Statuary

I was very pleased to spend the weekend in Washington, DC. Saturday I was at the Center for Hellenic Studies for a planning session for a multi-institutional course we’re offering this spring on the Greek historian Herodotus. Sunday I walked around in full tourist mode taking pictures. Herewith, some more of DC’s fine statuary:

• Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, with throne made of fasces.


• The Three Soldiers, a controversial addition to Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A lot of people found Lin’s black wall of remembrance too bleak, and insisted on something more representational and heroic. Thus was Frederick Hart commissioned to design the tableau below. Tom Wolfe had some interesting words to say about it in “The Artist the Art World Couldn’t See.” It was Veterans’ Day, thus the wreath.


• Nearby, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial by Glenna Goodacre, unveiled in 1993.


• Across the way, the Korean War Veterans Memorial.


• If you head off the Mall and toward the Tidal Basin, you encounter the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, unveiled five years ago.

mlk• On the western side of the Tidal Basin, there is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, an extensive installation representing FDR’s four terms of office. The first one has a number of sculptures representing the Depression. Eleanor Roosevelt appears in the last one.





The memorial features two renditions of FDR, a main one with his dog Fala, and another one added later on the insistence of disability rights activists, unambiguously illustrating the president in a wheelchair.



• Continuing around the Tidal Basin, we encounter George Mason, politician and anti-federalist.


• And at the far end of the Tidal Basin, we have Thomas Jefferson Memorial, a large open neoclassical rotunda featuring a large-than-life statue of the third president. Quotations of his adorn the walls; don’t tell the faculty at UVA.


• Elsewhere in the city, we have statues of American heroes like Admiral David Farragut (of “Damn the Torpedoes!” fame):


• Revolutionary War Captain John Paul Jones:


• And Civil War Major General George B. McClellan:


• On Embassy Row, we have a number of foreign heroes, like Crown Princess Märtha of Norway:


• Simon Bolivar, liberator of much of Latin America (this one was outside a Venezuelan facility):


• Manuel Belgrano, one of the founders of Argentina (and the namesake of a ship that got sunk in the Falklands Crisis):


• A strange anthropoform sculpture entitled “Sentinel” outside the Slovenian embassy:


• And an inventive bust of Andrei Sakharov, “academician,” outside Russia House (a restaurant).

sakharov• Where are my manners? How can I not have yet included Paul Mellon, benefactor of the Center for Hellenic Studies?

mellon• To round out our tour, some religious-themed sculptures, including the Our Lady, Queen of the Americas, outside her namesake church:


• St. George, in Washington National Cathedral:

stgeorge• And outside Washington National Cathedral, a sculpture by Bjørn Okholm Skaarup, part of a series called “Carnival of the Animals.” An otter, riding a rooster, spears a winged salamander.