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From Mesopotamia to the Nebraska State Capitol: Assyrian Revival and New American Meanings

Miller, ER; (2020) From Mesopotamia to the Nebraska State Capitol: Assyrian Revival and New American Meanings. Sculpture Journal , 29 (1) pp. 65-93. 10.3828/sj.2020.29.1.5. Green open access

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Abstract

In 1929, the year after architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue's new State Capitol at Lincoln NE opened to the public, the Nebraska-based journal the Prairie Schooner published a seven-page poem by a certain Rosemonde E. Richards, called simply 'The Nebraska State Capitol'. In striking ecstatic ekphrasis the poet indicated her appreciation for the building's cutting-edge modern design, a towering skyscraper rising from the prairies, and for its elaborately planned sculptural program celebrating the state, the family, agriculture and the sublime. Although Assyrian elements are only one among many of the Nebraska State Capitol's eclectic influences, Assyrianisms are worth narrowing in on because their presence in that building should be significant to both ancient historians and scholars of modern art and architecture. In this article I will discuss the history of the Nebraska State Capitol's design and the reaction to its 'new style'. I will then consider each of the building's most notable 'Assyrianisms' in works by sculptor Lee Lawrie and muralist Hildreth Meiere.3 Finally I will trace some ways in which the Capitol's engagement with Assyrian imagery would be echoed in other buildings and imagery of the 1930s, and investigate the relationships between sculptors and designers and academics and academic institutions.

Type: Article
Title: From Mesopotamia to the Nebraska State Capitol: Assyrian Revival and New American Meanings
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3828/sj.2020.29.1.5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3828/sj.2020.29.1.5
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10088346
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