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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Transportation

This magnificent sculpture, Transportation, was placed atop Grand Central Terminal in 1914, a year and a half after the terminal's opening. At the time of its installation, this enormous sculptural group (48 feet high) was considered the largest of its kind. Click here for second photo. Renowned French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan created a 1/4 scale plaster model in his Paris studio and shipped it to New York where local sculptor John Donnelly made the final version in his Long Island City studio. The sculpture has three Roman deities and an American eagle with outspread wings behind them: in the center is Mercury, god of commerce, travel, speed and messenger of the gods. To his right is Hercules, symbolizing strength and to his left is Minerva, goddess of wisdom. The trio surmounts an enormous clock in Tiffany glass - 13 feet in diameter, surrounded with cornucopias, symbols of abundance. If you visit Grand Central Terminal or are in the area near the 42nd Street entrance, make sure to look UP ...

10 comments:

athen said...

Amazing blog with stellar pictures. Good job and great eyes!

Brian said...

Athen;
Thanks - and let's give credit to the architecture and art itself.
Brian

ruth said...

Brian, weren't they thinking of destroying Grand Central a while back, and Jackie O supported its preservation? Or am I remembering a different landmark?

I'm glad to see a closeup of this sculpture. Thanks as always for the interesting historical info.

Eric said...

Where did you find out all of that information. It makes the architecture so much more interesting...that and your photo of course!

Brian said...

Ruth- Yes, they were thinking of destroying Grand Central, and Jackie O' was responsible for saving. I will address th when I do the terminal itself.

Eric- I just do a lot of reading everyday on most of these posts. I read online and also use various reference books on NYC, including architecture guides.

Brian

Susan said...

Beautiful sculpture! I wonder if Coutan intended for Mercury to be wearing a piece of cloth? I think that was added later don't you?

jing said...

oo..so interesting comments.and i think i those information made your photo vivid..
and yes, great angle of the sculpture.
hey, i also find the blue sky there. nice~~

jing
www.shanghaidailyphoto.com

Michael said...

Susan...wishful thinking on your part, non? ;-)

Wonderful photo and description. I'll never look at Grand Central the same!

Susan said...

hmmmm...wishful part...I'm not sure what you mean!?! I think we are talking about two different things again! ha!

I think what I meant is not near as interesting as what you think I was saying! I only meant that I noticed he was wearing a cloth...not typical of French statues because they are usually naked. But you know America, the Prostestant founding of the U.S. remains in our abhorance of nudity! Which is fine by me actually (I was raised Protestant..lol). But naked statues are fine with me too...but don't expect to see me at a nude beach!

Anonymous said...

As is often the case, so often we walk along streets with our heads down or straight ahead. Older architecture particularly features marvellous sights above our heads! Great, thanks.