Classical Architecture Essay

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Classical Architecture The West has always put a great emphasis on how beholden it is to many cultural and political institutions derived from Classical Antiquity. This has been most consistent in aesthetic conceptions of art and architecture. Many monuments and architectural traditions of the West derive directly from ancient sources, in an attempt to link the ideals of modern life with those of ancient Greece and Rome. Nowhere is this more evident than in the capitol of the United States where a Neo-Classical style predominates. The Lincoln Memorial built in 1822 embodies the conscious attempt to sanctify an American President with a classical model. It was based upon the quintessential classical building of the Parthenon. The…show more content…
The Parthenon has served as an architectural model on which to instill the connection between the Ancient and Modern worlds. It is no wonder that the young American Republic would latch onto the Neo-Classical ideal that dominated European aesthetics for the first half of the 19th century. They wished to both sanctify a fallen leader and idealized man, and make a conscious connection with the first democratic society. They chose the Parthenon as their model precisely because it serves as the climax of the Greek political and artistic lives. Lincoln would be sitting within a recess behind fluted columns, much like the venerated statue of Athena within the Parthenon by the sculptor Pheidias. This temple structure dedicated to Lincoln simultaneously venerates an American President and links him with every core Classical ideal by its modeling the design of the Parthenon. American architects seemed to be insinuating that the capitol of the new Republic was a new Athens. This was politically, as a democratic Republic, and culturally as the supposed exemplar of the liberal humanist vision of the free citizen. A monument like the Lincoln Memorial coalesced what the Republic desired itself to stand for. The same thing transpired in 5th century BCE when Pericles pushed for the rebuilding of the Acropolis, and the Parthenon. Its sculptures
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