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Palace of Fine Arts with the Lagoon and Fountain of the Wind and Spray
Palace of Fine Arts with the Lagoon and Fountain of the Wind and Spray

Chapter IX


In contrast to the severe plainness of the walls a most lavish scheme of detailed decoration has been put into execution in fashioning the doorways of the Exposition. On the south wall of the main block of buildings, the doorways are, with the exception of the towers, the only decoration. To the extreme east on the Palace of Varied Industries, and to the extreme west on the Palace of Education, the doorways are individual in design. To the west of the center in the Palace of Liberal Arts, and to the east of the center in the Palace of Manufactures, the two doorways are the same. Smaller doorways break the plain line of the wall at intervals between these more pretentious elements. These smaller doorways differ on the end buildings and are similar in the two buildings in the center.

The four doorways in the north wall on the Marina in the Palaces of Food Products, Agriculture, Transportation and Mines are similar. They are the most lavishly decorated and fanciful of the doorways of the Exposition.

Varied Industries

The most characteristic touch of Spanish decoration to be found in the Exposition as a combination of detail is the doorway of the Palace of Varied Industries. This is the most easterly of the doors on the south front of the main system of buildings. It is copied from a doorway in Toledo, in Spain.

On the gable of the building rides the graceful winged figure of Victory and Good Fortune, by Ulrich, a beautiful silhouette against the sky. On either side the door is flanked by pilasters each topped by the Iberian bear holding a shield on which is dimly suggested the arms of Castile and Aragon. The door itself is richly colored in a soft golden brown shaded into rose and blue, with here and there a touch of green in the jalousie and in the panels of the entrance below. On either side of this entrance is a very ornate band set here and there with the rose of Spain and the cross of Malta. Outside of this rise on either side figures of a workman with his hammer, and then a beautiful Spanish Renaissance pillar with a Corinthian floriated capital. These two elements support an ornate lintel topped with an arch. On the front of this lintel is an escutcheon quartered with the lizard and the amphora and held in place by a spread eagle. Resting on this lintel and forming the center of the arch are the groups of the earth receiving the tributes of the workers in wool, in stone, and on the fields, and the figure of Labor, all giving homage to Ceres who represents the earth.

Forming the spans of the arch are first, a band of characteristic Spanish decoration then a band of angel figures each bearing a key and set beneath a Moorish dome, the figures symbolizing that Labor unlocks the door to all that man may know that the salvation of man lies in the labor of his hands. On the keystone of the arch sits the pensive workman, a figure powerful and aloof in its loneliness. Rising on either side are Spanish candelabra. Resting on the arch and rising from it is a bit of decoration peculiarly Spanish the apparently finished arch is topped by a complete element, in this case a second lintel upon which rests a group of figures flanked on either side with columns and candelabra. The figures are those of the aged workman passing his heritage of toil to his son, who willingly and with confidence accepts the burden. Resting on the frieze above the columns on either side and flanking the vault of the niche, is the figure of an angel. Between this group and the angels on either side are two bands supported by a third band bearing the Spanish rose. Topping the whole is a decorative frieze and scroll work and from it all rises the shell of Saint James of Compostella, flanked by Spanish candelabra.

Liberal Arts and Manufactures

The doors of the Liberal Arts and Manufactures palaces are the same. These doors show less of Spanish influence than the others. They are more Roman in their severity of line. Within the arch the doorway rises to a good height and is topped by an exquisite fan-grille of floriated design. About the doorway is a beautiful band decorated with the rose. On the keystone formed of the acanthus leaf stands the lion, emblematic of the power of the earth - temporal power.

Down the outer band of the portal is the acanthus and on the right side, two bears supporting pine cones on the left, the winged horse Pegasus and cupids. Below is the Greek winged sphinx supporting a stand on which is the dolphin.

There is a beautiful frieze above these doors in which the arts and manufactures are displayed - the potter, the molder, the spinner, the blacksmith - and on either side in niches the woman with her spindle and the man with his hammer. Aloft are the Greek dentates beneath the cornice the eaves above are of Moorish tiling, and the gable is topped as elsewhere by the virile figure of Victory.


Opposing the Spanish doorway of the Palace of Varied Industries to the extreme west on the south wall is the main doorway of the Palace of Education. It is distinctive in that it is flanked by the twisted columns of the cedars of Lebanon that the Bible tells upheld the roof of the Temple of Solomon in Palestine. They have been conventionalized through Italian architecture to the form in which they appear in this doorway to the Educational Palace, and also in some other minor doors within the interior courts. This doorway is Roman in its high unbroken semi-circular arch. Its detail of decoration is made up of fanciful forms, evidently Florentine, or at least Italian. The opening of the doorway is banded by an element in which the Spanish rose predominates. The capitals of the twisted columns are Corinthian.

Topping the arch is a figure of the world banded by knowledge, upheld by two scrolls in which the Spanish rose is the dominant note. Within the tympanum of the arch is a group of figures which is a standing argument for the nude in art. In front of the tree of knowledge sits a classic figure teaching a boy and a girl in ill-fitting modern dress. On either side are graceful classic figures of the youth with the child of his brain, showing the power of creative thought, and on the other side instinctive thought, the mother's teaching, which is after all the best there is. If the figures of the children in the center were stripped of their modern clothing and idealized as any one of a hundred uncles in the Exposition are idealized, this group in the doorway of the Palace of Education would be inspiring, in the support of the globe itself are worked Egyptian rams' heads, the sign of the mystery and power of Egyptian law. Just over the doorway is an escutcheon supported by two beautiful cherubs bearing the tables of the law, from which spread rays of light, and below is the hourglass and above the crown signifying that knowledge crowns and brightens and controls time. Topping the pillars on either side are the usual candelabra, much conventionalized here. This is an intensely Spanish touch, grafted on a system of very Italian decoration.

The small doors on the south wall are in three groups. Those on the Palaces of Liberal Arts and of Manufactures are Roman in their tendency; those on the Palace of Varied Industries intensely Spanish those on the Palace of Education, Grecian.

Over the small doors on either side of the main portal of the Varied Industries Building the arch is surmounted by a basket of fruit. Beneath the tympanum is a shell with a rich blue background handed about with the rose. There are candelabra set on either side. On the face of the shell is the very Spanish escutcheon containing the shell or escallop and the vair or checker effect on a blue ground. Below is a little crowned shield with the pine-cone or pineapple, for in heraldry this is often the same, and the lizard; farther below is a band of the egg and dart. Griffins set upon rams' heads top the pillars on either side, and set in a square boss on the pillar are the Spanish lion and the griffin. Within the door is a jalousie of wheel-work grille.

The small doors on the Palace of Education take their dominant Grecian note from the gabled plinth and the supporting columns with their composite capitals and the suggestion of Solomon's columns in the spiral groining. A band of the Spanish rose surrounds the opening of the doorway with a finish of the egg and dart. On the doorway is an escutcheon supported by two griffins. The escutcheon is blank. Over the doorway set in the masonry of the wall is a frieze containing a group suggesting Learning Listening to the Arts.

The four doorways of the center buildings - the Palaces of Manufactures and of Liberal Arts - have the usual band of the Spanish rose surrounding the opening of the doorway. Two conventional columns support the lintel. The escutcheon bears the fleur-de-lis, an Italian Renaissance or French Renaissance sign. On the archway topping the lintel is seen the shell, conventionalized and forming the tympanum of the arch. On either side of this arch stands the Roman eagle. Topping the whole is a conventionalized ornament suggesting the rose and the shell.

The Palace of Food Products has a very dignified doorway opening into the allee leading into the Court of the Four Seasons. The lintel of the door is topped with a shell above which there is the pine-cone; below is an escutcheon banded with the fleur-de-lis, and the door is banded with the rose. The small doors of this building have a shell over the triangular top and below an escutcheon supported by clusters of fruit.

The main door leading from the Agricultural Building to the allee on its south front is interesting in that it is banded with the grapevine, leaf and fruit, emblematic of plenty and the pelican, emblematic of self-sacrifice and the profusion of food.

Fronting the lagoon are the two beautiful half domes and imposing entrances into the Food Products and Educational palaces. In both the semi-circular opening is supported by fine Corinthian columns, those in the Educational Building topped with the Spirit of Thought, the open book in her hand; in the Palace of Food Products, the man bears the wreath of Victory, symbolic perhaps of the food that man has wrested from the earth. Outside of each of these doors stands the splendid pensive nude figure by Stackpole, the man in deep thought, his hands lightly clasped in an attitude of receptive attention.

Across the lagoon the door to the Art Palace is simply, severely Greek, with its plain lintel and plain sides. Above it rises the odd detached fragment, some say the Spirit of Inspiration, inviting the world to enter and witness success. The plainness of this door is a fine artistic touch in the beautiful dignity of the building.

Machinery Palace

Most Roman in conception is the treatment of the doorways of Machinery Palace. Each portal is in itself an artistic triumph. The main doorway is superbly Roman in its three arches. The supporting columns are Corinthian and rise from beautiful drums on which in bas-relief appear the mighty figures of Machinery, sphinx-like forms whose eyes are closed, because the power of machinery is blind in its obedience to a master controlling hand.

Across the top of the columns runs a broad lintel, breaking the leap of the arches, and from this soar two eagles in each archway, typical of unconquered ambition. The vault above is beautifully coffered and tinted a delicate rose, handed with blue and starred with the rose of Spain. On the spandrels of the inner portal are the allegorical figures of Labor, most graceful, and holding the hammer or lever. Outside of the arch rise the four great columns on which are set the types of power by Haig Patigian - Electricity, Controlling the Lightning Invention, Creative Power, holding the winged figure of Thought in his hand; Imagination, the power of the mind, his arms uplifted and clasping the winch, his eyes closed, for the secrets of the mind are veiled as the power of machinery is hidden and Steam, bearing a lever, symbolic of his might.

The great height of this doorway does not impress the beholder as it should, because of the break in the lintel and the placing of the statue of Creation just in front of it.

Marina Doorways

The four portals leading out of the north wall on to the Marina are all alike, probably because of the unusual and delightful ornateness of the design. They are in the best style of the Spanish plateresque or silversmith work and represent the elaborate lavishness of decoration that came into vogue with the wealth and splendor that began in the days of Ferdinand and Isabella. These doorways are more Spanish than any of the other doors except that on the south wall of the Varied Industries Palace.

There are three beautiful Roman arches below, banded on either side by the basilisk, king of serpents, device of the Duke of Alva, of terrible fame, who won the name of the Spanish Fury. Above the basilisk set in banded wreaths are the emblems of the crab and the scorpion, or viper, the arms of the House of Gonzaga, favorite of Charles V; and the crab, the arms of the House of Rodomonte, one of the creatures of Philip. The Gonzagas were known as the vipers of Milan, and the Rodomontes, too, were of most unenviable fame.

Farther up on a small square boss is the chimera, another heraldic device, placed upon the coat of arms by Philip when he married Mary Tudor to denote the heretics of England whom he was going to destroy. All this is set on a lace-like background. Above the boss of the chimera is a shield carrying, faintly limned, the suggestion of the arms of Ferdinand and Isabella. Above, the great head of Neptune, to denote the power of Spain upon the sea. This device was one of the signet signs of the city of Barcelona, Spain's great seaport in the days of her glory. There is also the double-headed eagle of Charles V. to denote his power in two worlds; and over that the shell and Spanish candelabra, emblematic of the ever-burning flame of religious zeal.

Set in niches, purely Moorish in their delicate carvings, are the figures of the Conquistador and his aides, the pirates. These pirates were the creatures of the leaders - whom they adored. Sodden, dull and vicious, in blind devotion they carried out their master's will. It is fitting that the figure of the Conquistador should gaze in splendid isolation upon the waters of the bay which perhaps his forbears won for his queen. Daring, dashing, relentless men these were, winning by the sword what they could not win by peace bringing the message of their civilization to the conquered and thrusting upon them their creeds and their rule. This fine bit of the lavishness and splendor of Spain before her decadence is the final touch upon these buildings fronting the bay.

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