Welcome to Tuesday, June 16th. We continue our exploration of how monuments are built. Remember to take a break each day to learn something new!
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The Lincoln Memorial is an American national memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., across from the Washington Monument. Taking the form of a neoclassical temple, the memorial’s architect was Henry Bacon. The designer of the memorial interior’s large central statue – Abraham Lincoln, 1920 – was Daniel Chester French; the Lincoln statue was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers.
The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address.
The Memorial is anchored in a concrete foundation, 44 to 66 feet (13 to 20 m) in depth, constructed by M. F. Comer and Company and the National Foundation and Engineering Company, and is encompassed by a 187-by-257-foot (57 by 78 m) rectangular granite retaining wall measuring 14 feet (4.3 m) in height.
The Memorial’s interior is divided into three chambers by two rows of four Ionic columns, each 50 feet (15 m) tall and 5.5 feet (1.7 m) across at their base. The central chamber, housing the statue of Lincoln, is 60 feet wide, 74 feet deep, and 60 feet high.
Lying between the north and south chambers of the open-air Memorial is the central hall, which contains the large solitary figure of Abraham Lincoln sitting in contemplation. Its sculptor, Daniel Chester French, supervised the Piccirilli Brothers in its construction, and it took four years to complete.
The 175 short tons (159 t) statue, carved from Georgia white marble, was shipped in 28 pieces. Originally intended to be only 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, the sculpture was enlarged to 19 feet (5.8 m) from head to foot considering it would look small within the extensive interior space. If Lincoln were depicted standing he would be 28 feet (8.5 m) tall.
The widest span of the statue corresponds to its height, and it rests upon an oblong pedestal of Tennessee marble 10 feet (3.0 m) high, 16 feet (4.9 m) wide, and 17 feet (5.2 m) deep. Directly beneath this lies a platform of Tennessee marble about 34.5 feet (10.5 m) long, 28 feet (8.5 m) wide, and 6.5 inches (0.17 m) high. Lincoln’s arms rest on representations of Roman fasces, a subtle touch that associates the statue with the Augustan (and imperial) theme (obelisk and funerary monuments) of the Washington Mall. The statue is discretely bordered by two pilasters, one on each side. Between these pilasters, and above Lincoln’s head, is engraved an epitaph of Lincoln by Royal Cortissoz.