Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Statues have been a big topic. On my last trip to Chicago I made photos of these works that celebrate men of historical importance who made a difference in the world without leaving a trail of hate, oppression, death and myths of lost causes. 

In Humboldt Park there stands a statute of Leif Erickson. Many think this Norse explorer discovered America and was the first European to set foot on the continent. Columbus is generally heralded as the discoverer of the New World but it's thought he may have heard of Leif on a 1477 voyage to Iceland. 

While Columbus has had his reputation tarnished due to some questions about treatment of indigenous people Leif stands tall in statues erected in cities all across the USA. This one has been standing in Chicago since 1901 and was commissioned from  Sigvald Asbjornsen for the price of $10,000. Leif was apparently a pretty good fellow, reportedly blown off course and finding the continent on a mission to preach Christianity. One thing I found funny is that these various statues around the city is they have a phone number. You call and a recorded message plays telling their accomplishments and gives a few tips on interesting things to see in the city. When Leif was floating around out there off the foggy New England coast he probably wished for such a service.       

Next up is the grand kids posing at the foot of a statue of Hans Christian Andersen the famous Dutch writer of children's fairy tales. This is what he is best remembered for although he is known also for his adult writings that transcended age and nationality.  He was friends with Dickens and they both wrote on themes that affected the underclass of the Industrial Revolution. Apparently attracted to both sexes he is reported to have remained celibate his whole life and had high moral and religious values. This statue was shown at the 1893 World's Fair and later moved here to Lincoln Park. The sculptor, John Gelert also did a bust of Beethoven for the park but it was stolen in 1970 and never recovered.    

This statue of Shakespeare was done by William Ordray in 1894. It's a low pedestal as a remembrance that Shakespeare belongs among the people. It's also in Lincoln Park and you can imagine the problems this sculptor faced. No one knows what Shakespeare looked like. I do know that one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes is from the Macbeth soliloquy "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing." I know all have heard things like that.  

Next up is this statue of a women with breast exposed that stands along the lake shore. We can tell this is in the USA because in Europe, if you remember a previous BLOG POST (looks like I have written about staues at least 6 times on the blog) breasts on statues are fondled for good luck and are polished a shiny bronze from the many touching hands. I guess with the fountain it's kind of a deterrent to this behavior but we all know that there are people in the world whose ideas are all wet.  

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