Month: May 2013

Archeology at Dolly and James Madison’s Montpelier

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Poor President James Madison

MON_0190He was overshadowed by fellow Virginians George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Dolly Madison, White House hostess in daring Empire dresses and savior, from the British burning of the White House, of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington.  But the distinguished historian Gordon S. Wood argues that Madison was really the most impressive of the early (and later) Republic’s political leaders:”Although Madison was shy, short, and soft-spoken, he impressed everyone he met.  He was widely read with a sharp and questioning mind;indeed,he was probably the most intellectually creative political figure America has ever produced.”(page 61, Empire of Liberty)ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Embassy of Austria

Leopold Boeckl, an Austrian-born Washington,D.C. architect, describes his design of the Austrian Embassy, 3524 International Court, N.W., a block west of Connecticut Ave., as based on an Upper Austrian farm complex with the buildings arranged around an open courtyard.  The four corners represent  Austrian castles.  In the Embassy, the open courtyard is reinterpreted as the atrium where approximately 50 concerts plus lectures are given a year.  Along its rear wall are five paintings by Herwig Zens: “The sequence of paintings represents a pictorial journey through Austria from west to east.  Tour guide is the most prominent Austrian in the United States— (apart from Arnold Schwarzenegger)—the film director, Billy Wilder.”{quoted from Embassy brochure.}  The new Embassy building opened in 1991.Austria 45Austria 38 Austria 7 Austria 66 Austria 55 Austria 63 Austria 2Austria 24

Among the most elegant boulevards in Washington,DC is Massachusetts Ave. (nicknamed Embassy Row) and one of the most elegant sections of that Avenue is Sheridan Circle.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREIn the middle of the Circle is  General Philip Sheridan by Gutzon Bornlum (of Mt. Rushmore fame). This statue has a rawness and power neither present nor perhaps desired in many of the city’s other monuments to Civil War, War of 1812, and Revolutionary War generals.Imagefile://localhost/Users/williamlebovich/Pictures/Aperture%20Library.aplibrary/Previews/2013/05/06/20130506-050902/TPM86d2jTg6D+Z+Eqkay5g/General%20Sheridan%20Sculpture%206.jpgImageImage