Art at the Exposition
- Publication: Omaha Daily Bee
- Date: 13 June 1898
- Author(s): Ethel Evans
- Publication Place: Omaha, NE
- Pages: 5
- TEI XML: transmiss.news.odb.18980613.xml
ART AT THE EXPOSITION
The exposition is not built for posterity, as were the tombs and temples of Egypt. It is for today and it is for us to enjoy it while it is within our gates. In less than a year it will be robbed of its beauty, leaving behind the influence of its memory and the lesson it cannot fail to teach by its classical and stately outlines.
The time to most thoroughly enjoy the effect of the exposition is in the evening. Dinner parties upstairs in the Viaduct restaurant are doubly entertaining by sight and sound. Looking east over and beyond the Plaza are the beautiful blue bluffs of Iowa, tinged with the yellow glow of the setting sun. One may miss the feeling of vastness and the sense of space which the great lakes or the ocean might inspire, but nothing could be more restful than those hazy hills, shutting us away from the rest of the busy world. While we are enjoying the blue and grey hills seen through a rosy haze, without dissecting the colors or defining the emotion, delicate strains of music or martial measure greet the ear from the Marine band and our feelings are translated into sound.
How lovely the "Tannhauser" sounded as it was echoed back from the beautiful white shell across the lagoon.
The most glorious picture of the exposition is presented to you as you sit on the viaduct at the east end of the Lagoon court in the twilight. The buildings are toned at this hour of the day into perfect harmony, with the sky and water. suggesting all the splendor of "marble halls." In the main the buildings are in the Renaissance style of architecture. With their long horizontal lines and the repetition of the vertical lines in their columns they give to the most untutored eye a feeling of repose and perfection. We who are not of the craft do not realize how much work and careful planning were entailed to bring about this happy result. It was not a matter of chance that the buildings are so perfectly balanced and proportioned. It is due to the architects-in-chief. They gave to each architect the size and scale of each building, the height of columns, width of halls and other necessary detail, thus keeping a unity of size and thought in the whole. They completed that unity and symmetry by connecting all the separate buildings with a colonnade, one of the most pleasing things of the whole, Lagoon Court, both from an aesthetic and a utilitarian standpoint.
At the east end of the lagoon, the exedra is connected with the Mines and Mining and Electricity buildings by an uncovered colonnade called the pergola—similar to those at Pompeii. Later in the summer, when vines shall have formed a green roof, it will add another note of southern picturesqueness.
If you imagine that nothing could be more beautiful than this view of the Lagoon Court at twilight, it Is necessary to wait until by a magic touch each building is outlined by electric lights.
At the west end of the lagoon rises the Government building, adding majesty and strength to the whole. The Goddess of Liberty at its apex may not be all we would desire in the garish light of day, but at night with her far-reaching light, above the gilded dome, it is all sufficient. As it stands out in relief against the depth of the blue sky it is like a pearl in a sapphire setting.
Standing in front of the Government building, looking toward the east, the view is very pleasing. Many think it the point from which the best impression is received. The pavilions of the exedra are very light and attractive and when illuminated give quite an appearance of fairyland. The round domes and triangular pediments of the stately and elegant Art building outlined by the warm, yellow incandescent lights add variety and accent. Bouquets of lights on either side of the lagoon, with the red lights of the bridge and the bluish arc lights cast long, quivering yellow, red and blue reflections in the lagoon.
If one could invoke the spirits of Bramante and Michael Angelo, the fathers of Renaissance architecture, and they could see what we can see any evening at the exposition, I am sure they would join us in saying: "It is well." ETHEL EVANS.