Prometheus Version 1.0
When Prometheus was unveiled, gilded figures of a man and a woman stood on ledges on either side of him, waiting to receive his gift of fire. Within a year, Manship decided that the figures were out of proportion to Prometheus, and they were hauled up to the roof of the Italian Building. Fifty years later they were moved back to the plaza. They now stand, ungilded and inexplicable, on either side of the steps leading down to the skating rink.
Anti-Business As Usual in New York
Theodore Roosevelt was one of the first American presidents to be vehemently anti-business – or at least anti-big-business.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
The original Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza was an attempt to draw traffic to the plaza before the 6th Ave. subway line was opened. The skating rink, also intended as a temporary attraction, was so successful that was made a permanent fixture in the winter of 1939-1940.
Manship (1885-1966, b. St. Paul, Minnesota) was one of the leading American sculptors of the 20th century. He trained with Solon Borglum (brother of Gutzon Borglum) and in Rome. On a 1912 trip to Greece he was inspired by Archaic Greek art (then relatively unknown), whose style he adapted for mythological subjects such as Prometheus. By the 1930s he was the most famous living sculptor in the United States.
Manhattan has the Four Elements on the former AT&T Building, 1917 (195 Broadway), Prometheus, 1934, the Group of Bears, 1932 (Fifth Avenue at 81st Street, just inside Central Park), the Governor Alfred E. Smith Flagpole with its charming selection of New York State fauna, 1946 (Catherine and Cherry Streets), and the gates at the entrance to the Central Park Children's Zoo, 1961 (near 66th Street). Queens has an armillary sphere in Flushing Meadows. The Bronx has the Rainey Gates at the north entrance to the Bronx Zoo, 1934.
Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante