Continued Legacy of the Renaissance and Baroque Thought in the New World Research Paper

Pages: 7 (2589 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Drama - World

NYSE Revised

There is one place that epitomizes the spirit of American Capitalism and it is in New York City. That is the original New York Stock Exchange Building located at 18 Broad Street on the corner of Wall Street and Exchange. The building is now a museum, a monument to neo-classical architecture, a tribute to 19th century American wealth and prosperity (NYSE Euronet, 2011). The architect was George B. Post who drafted the plans over intense examination of the required specifications. George B. Post, a prominent 19th century American architect won the competition for the commission to build the new York Stock Exchange building. He was one of the three pioneers in the industry whose specialty was building skyscrapers. Post' use of the classical order gained through the early year offer a great motif incorporated in the Stock Exchange facade

The building erected at the beginning of the 20th century, cost over $4 million dollars. It is most recognized by the six Corinthian columns that flank a massive window with a width of 95 feet and height of 50 feet. This massive window appears on either side of the main board room with floor dimensions of 109 feet by 104 feet. The windows along with a skylight of 30 square feet that stands atop 72 feet high walls allow enough natural light to enter the building and light the entire area. Post received his inspiration from the Neo-classical period which was often used in Roman Architecture.Download full
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TOPIC: Research Paper on Continued Legacy of the Renaissance and Baroque Thought in the New World Assignment

In May of 1792 there were two dozen stockbrokers who came together on Wall Street beneath a tree. They proposed a contract to determine what the rules of engagement were concerning the buy and sell of bonds and shares of stock in companies (Stedman, 1905). This contract is also called the Buttonwood Agreement which is the name of the tree where these founding capitalists met regularly. Those that signed the contract finalized this document as the first constitution of the New York Stock and Exchange Board in 1817 (Stedman, 1905). By 1863 the name was changed to the New York Stock Exchange which is the brand of the most widely known financial trading institution in the world (Stedman, 1905). Comparably, the Roman Empire was considered the height of industry in its time 117 A.D. This essay will compare the ancient Greco-Roman depiction of the temple with Post's design for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The external facade resembles that of a Roman temple front. The Roman temple was a prototype of the Etruscan era which was influenced by the simple Greek temple of early history.

The Greek temple was designed with columns across the anterior. Porches were located both in front and along the posterior of the main chamber

. There were usually friezes positioned above the columns along the front depicting deities or mythical idols.

The Roman temple however, is the model Post chose and the idols in Roman architecture include Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva which were at the center of Roman religion. One of the landmark buildings erected by the Etruscans was built in a manner which was the premiere example of a Roman temple. Interestingly it was called the Capitolium. The friezes depicted include each of the deities that were positioned facing animals to be sacrificed. This was the basis for Post's work on the NYSE building. Similarly the NYSE, a monument to American Capitalism has frieze sculptures just below the roofing or what is called the pediment.

The pediment sits high over the columns, which was the preferred form of the Corinthian order. Marble was used a great deal in sculptures. It was the favorite material at the time of the Augustine Empire. The marble was carved as sculpture to portray a meaning within the temple. The NYSE front facade, an example of a Roman temple front, shares a similar vision of a global financial empire and Rome's widespread reach into the past and the present.

The American symbol of capitalism first opened to trade on April 1903 (NYSE Euronet, 2011). The sculpture was commissioned to John Q. Adams Ward a well-known artist of the times. The sculpture depicts human bodies that represent disciplines of Science, Invention, and Industry on the left side and the first industries on which the country was built on the right, namely, Mining and Agriculture. In the center of the depictions of industry is another figure, of 22 feet in height that represents Integrity. The title of the sculpture is Integrity Protecting the Works of Man made and it is made entirely of marble.

John Quincy Adams Ward was very well-known for his work as a sculptor including the statue of our founding President, George Washington that stands on Wall Street in the Federal Hall (NYX.com, 2011). The pediment of the NYSE has emblems of natural resources from farming and planting along with mining to reflect America's contributions to society. The emblems of technology such electricity, land surveyors and builders represent the gifts Americans have contributed to the world using their skills and natural talents. Integrity in the center is symbolic of the manager or foundation of business in America and the world (Museum Planet, 2011). The marble sculpture was replaced with coated lead in 1936 due to the harsh weather's eroding effect on the marble (Museum Planet, 2011).

Internal to the main floor, called the board room, was shaped much like a beehive with traders positioned to buy and sell stock on any given weekday (NYSE Euronet, 2011).

The brokers that were to decide what the new specifications of the NYSE building had to conform to a few basic requirements that were critical to the project's success.

The brokers needed more floor space for transacting business, more light on the main floor for a longer period of the day, and lastly, ventilation (NYSE Euronet, 2011). These conditions were the critical success factors that Post had to deliver in order to avoid failure.

There are apparent connections between Post and his design strategies in relation to the "principles of architecture" along with its elements of design, construction, and costs. His pursuit in classical order allowed him to redefine his role in architecture

. He was a man that was constantly seeking to push beyond the traditional boundary of design.

The Vitruvius design called for the temple positioning atop a stone foundation that had steps up the front (Rome and Roman Empire, 2011) . The porch had wood columns across its front and there were sculptures made of terra cotta that were above the ridgeline and beneath the roofing (Hollingshead, 2011).

It is interesting to note how in Roman times, animals represented the harvest or wealth of the people being offered to the gods for favor or appeasement. This is similar to the representation of America's resources of wealth namely invention, science, and agriculture paying tribute to the industry of trading stocks serving financial Integrity or capitalism

In Rome, the temple was where the people came to worship their idols that they felt were responsible for providing necessities of life along with a bountiful return for their efforts or labor.

In America people invested their capital in the industries or companies that produced agriculture, technology, mining, or other materials in order to gain a return on their investment. This is similar to the Roman citizens desiring a return from the gods for their sacrifices.

An interpretation and description of the "Integrity Protecting the Works of Man" follows. On the left was the figures that represented science and technological advancement. There are two male figures examining plans on paper they appear to be surveyors or architects. The next figure is a man that has on an apron and a tool in his hand. The other hand is placed on a machine bearing a wheel assembly. The next figure is a man that is bent over and pushing on a lever that is attached to a gearshift connected to a type of box behind his back. There is a child that is seated at the feet of the woman representing Integrity. The child faces the figures depicting science and technology, perhaps listening and learning the trade. In the center of the pediment stands Integrity with the arms outstretched. She has on a cap with wings and a classical period long flowing dress. There is a cape attached that is buffeted by the wind behind her back. On the right of Integrity are two figures a man and a woman. The man is laden down with a harvesters sack of grain. He seems to be putting the grain in a basket by the child's feet. There is a second child on the opposite side of Integrity that appears to be assisting the farmers. The woman dressed as a pioneer is wearing a bonnet, appearing possibly pregnant with a smaller sack. She has a sheep following her. Next are two men stooping to examine a rock in the mines, one of them has a staff.

The poses held… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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