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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Most beautiful building in the US

   We live so close to one of this Country's most beautiful building- the Library of Congress.  According to the Library:
   "By the 1970s elaborately decorated spaces were subdivided by partitions, and dropped ceilings concealed the murals above them. Offices filled corridors, corner pavilions and the second-floor galleries of the Great Hall, compromising the beauty and integrity of the building. Its restoration was made possible by the 1980 opening of the third library building, the James Madison Memorial Building, to which some staff, collections and services could be moved."
    The move of many of the offices to the James Madison Building allowed the original building to be restored to its original splendor.

"Restoration of architectural surfaces, decorative painting and murals was based on historical research and archival photographs as well as on sampling of paint layers. The decorative painters cleaned and repainted intricate plaster reliefs and moldings. They cleaned gold leaf and, in some cases, replicated the aluminum leaf toned to look like gold or copper. They also re-created intricate painted classical patterns and designs."

  "The goal of the mural conservators was to uncover and preserve as much as possible the original work of 19 artists, each of whom used different materials and techniques. No two cycles of murals presented exactly the same problems. Many were black with grime and soot or covered with yellowed coatings. Some were flaking, others were damaged by abrasion or leaks, and a few had been repainted."

   "Today, surfaces once dark gray are again gleaming white. The graceful figures and rich colors of the murals can again be enjoyed, and the carefully planned harmony of colors in murals, wall decorations and mosaic floors or ceilings is once again clear. Long-dulled gold leaf now shines. Parquet, marble and mosaic floors, for years covered with carpet, tiles or linoleum, have been uncovered and restored." 

"Blackened light fixtures covered by awkward modern shades are bright, showing their bouquets of light bulbs, and intrusive modern hanging lights have been removed. As a result of the restoration and renovation, the architectural and artistic beauty of the first Library of Congress building now shines. The work performed has ensured that, in addition to the information it houses, the magnificence of the Thomas Jefferson Building can be appreciated for generations to come."
Above is the main reading room of the Library.

Among the famous books in the Libray's collection is one of the few Gutenberg Bibles

    The other famous books in the Library's collection are some of the original books that Thomas Jefferson gave to the Library after the British burned the Capitol in 1814 and destroyed the original books in the Library's collection of books.

    The balcony of the Libray has one of the great views of the Capitol and the Mall.

We have all been watching the restoration work on the Capitol from the outside but the inside is also under renovation.  The work is to be done by the time of Hillary Clinton's inauguration in January. 

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