One of the artworks I found at the Chicago Cultural Center, is called The Republic Memorial Hall. According to the Chicago Cultural Center, it is a Memorial Hall where soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War are remembered and honored. The Republic Memorial Hall is also well known for it’s Dome. When I seen the Dome, my first reaction was a feeling of amazement. I was amazed because The Republic Memorial Hall was very spacious and well decorated. What amazed me the most was the Dome in The Republic Memorial Hall because it was greatly decorated with vivid, bright colors of glass and flowers. As I walked in The Republic Memorial Hall, I felt like I was walking in another world. It felt like I went through a Medieval Castle. Thus, having the chance to see such artwork in The Republic Memorial Hall was a great experience.
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Description and Analysis
When I walked into The Republic Memorial Hall, I looked up and seen a large Dome. According to the Chicago Cultural Center, this artwork was created by Louis J. Millet and George L. Healy. It was decorated with Opalescent glass, Ripple glass, and Chipped jewels to create texture and color in their work. Veneers of Knoxville Pink Marble, from Tennessee, covered the halls in the Rotunda and the floor was covered in mosaics. According to Louis J. Millet and George L. Healy, “The backlighted blocks of translucent glass in the floor ensured that a somber light filtered from this space to the reading room. The sweeping interior of the grand hall is delineated by great pilasters and walls covered in strikingly sober green Vermont marble with gold brass trim, while heavy coffers further fill a spectacular ceiling.” Ornamented Tympana decorated in shields, swords, spears, helmets, and armor surrounds the rotunda, while inside The Republic Memorial Hall the names of historic civil war battles are inscribed atop the walls. The texture and color of the Dome in The Republican Memorial Hall helps to create an emotional impact because of vivid, bright colors that was used. According to Deborah Boardman, one of the artists of the Republican Memorial Hall, she used glass Heraldic Emblems to visualize and interpret one’s own potential heroism and mortality.
I believe the following principle of art that is mainly being used in The Republic Memorial Hall is Balance because the Dome’s artwork symbolizes Symmetrical Balance. The Dome represents Symmetrical Balance because the flowers and shape on the dome corresponds to one another in size, shape, and placement. According to Chapter 5, Symmetrical Balance is a mirror image of shapes/forms on either side of an imaginary axial dividing line. This means that the Dome in The Republican Memorial Hall represents Symmetrical Balance because the images of the flowers and shapes in the artwork are the same on both sides on the dome, like a reflection of each other in a mirror.
The artists of The Republican Memorial Hall are Deborah Boardman, Louis J. Millet, and George L. Healy. According to The Chicago Cultural Center, Deborah Boardman’s installation in the entry foyer of the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall is based on the original purpose to honor military regiments and historic battle sites of the American Civil War. Deborah Boardman was born in 1958 in Salem, Massachusetts and lived in Chicago for 28 years. She worked at an Edgewater Studio and was a teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1997. Louis J. Millet and George L. Healy was born in 1856. Louis passed away in 1923 and George passed away in 1921. According to the Chicago Cultural Center, they were both graduates of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Their taste ran to the contemporary France preference for graceful and elegant forms inspired by nature. Louis J. Millet was known as being “the best chorus master” for schemes, which include painting, stenciling, art glass, and decorative plasterwork. As the Director of Architecture and Design at the School of the Art Institute until 1918, Millet had a lasting influence on the Arts and Crafts community in Chicago as he guided generations of young men and women who pursued careers in decorative design.
I believe this works mean peace, honor, and tranquility to the Heroes of our country. According to The Chicago Cultural Center, soldiers who fought in the Civil War are remembered and honored. Also, the Memorial Hall is also to memorize the Indian Wars that were initiated by and connected to the Civil War.
My experience in critiquing this great work of art was a wonderful learned experience. I feel that getting the chance to learn about wonderful artwork like the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial. My feelings of amazement for the Memorial Hall has not changed since I started. However, I would not like to have this artwork for my own because this artwork is meant for the soldiers and heroes who helped serve our country. This artwork is meant to be for all the heroes and soldiers that served in the Civil War and fought for the Union.
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I believe the Memorial Hall artwork is good in and of itself because it meets the criteria of using certain Principles of Art, which was Symmetrical Balance, and Ornamented Tympana to not only impact other artists around the world but also appreciate people who served our country. In conclusion, the work was up to the task I have determined that set for itself because this work achieved a goal of being an inspiration to both artists and soldiers. Thus, I feel this artwork will leave a great legacy to Chicagoans and even artists from all over the world. I believe this artwork was worth making and it was worth examining because I learned so much from looking at the Republic Memorial Hall. I learned the following from seeing the artwork: history of the Memorial Hall, how it inspired other artists, and what details went into making the Memorial Hall into what it is as of today. I hope the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall will continue to be an inspiration to all artist and soldiers everywhere.
- Getlein, Mark. (2015). Living with Art, 11th edition. McGraw-Hill Co
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