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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Caryatids

There is much sensory input at street level in New York City that it is easy to miss those things which are above ground. Look up and you can explore the architecture so often overlooked by visitors and residents alike.

Here, at 91 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, is a commercial loft building built in 1894 and designed by Louis Korn. At the sixth floor level are six caryatids under four Corinthian columns and two matching pilasters. A caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support, taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head.

I have been by this property hundreds if not thousands of times, but it took only a friend to point it out on a stroll down lower 5th Avenue. I saw this set of caryatids as a metaphor for the burdens that women have shared in many ways - women's rights, the glass ceiling, misogyny, women's right to vote, their role as social enablers, and physical burdens, like the entablatures of The Caryatids

Related Posts: I Know, I've Got a Feeling, Gargoyles, Cybele


NKS said...

I used to work across the street and had a view of some of those caryatids from my office. I named them Fifi, Imogen, and Trixibelle.

Tamera said...

Belle Epoque is some of the most beautiful architecture.