Friday, January 9, 2009

Boston Public Library

A cold and blustery January day.... perfect for a trip to Boston!

The Public Garden is still beautiful in the winter. Beautiful but cold!

It was the first public botanical garden in the US, established in 1837.

It's hard to imagine our dog, Bailey, behaving well enough to be part of a dog-walker's pack of dogs!

The main attraction of this trip to Boston is to take an Art and Architecture tour of the Boston Public Library. The tours are free and are lead by volunteer docents.

The McKim Building (in the foreground) opened in 1895 while the Johnson Building (visible to the right rear) opened in 1972. The tour we took focused on the McKim building.

Inside the entrance, stairs ascend surrounded by Siena marble, two unpolished marble lions and murals depicting the muses by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Flash photography is not permitted in the library so my pictures aren't the best.

The building, including the design of this stairway, was inspired by Renaissance buildings in Europe. The murals in this stairway were painted on canvas in Paris and installed in the library.

Bates Hall is named for a library benefactor who wanted to ensure that people would have free access to books and knowledge. He gave generously to the library on the condition that a reading room that could seat 100 people be part of the building.

The courtyard of the library feels very European. I would love to hang out here on a summer day.

The sculpture in the courtyard was too controversial when it was first delivered, so after being in place for only 2 weeks, the original was taken to the Metropolitan Museum in New York where it remains today. A copy was made, and that copy resides at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

In the 1990's, many works of art at the Boston Public Library were restored. An additional copy of the sculpture was installed in the courtyard, so it is finally as envisioned by the original architect.

Right across the street, Old South Church was recently in the news because a crack developed in one of its walls.

Back Bay in Boston was once tidewater flats surrounding the Charles River. It was filled during the 1800's. The large buildings constructed in this neighborhood were built atop wooden piles since the fill wasn't stable enough to support large structures.

Unfortunately, construction of a handicapped elevator for the T next to Old South Church caused a crack through the wall of the church in December 2008. You can see sensors that have been installed to monitor the crack in this photo.

The crack has temporarily been filled so that the church isn't damaged farther, and more permanent repairs will be made.

Of course, walking, food and shopping were part of our trip too!!

1 comment:

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