The Dream City, Paul V. Galvin 
Digital History Collection


If there has been a lesson taught the thinking people of our country by the World's Columbian Exposition - a lesson which has impressed them more forcibly than any other - it has been the fact that we, a race of individualists more than any who have preceded us in Exposition work, have put aside individual taste and have united in an effort to carry out the several parts of a design which, from the day the work was inaugurated, was dominated by one idea. Never in modern times have men of widely different characteristics been brought together in a work that has resulted in such complete unity of action.

The great exhibit buildings of the Fair will stand unrivalled in the history of the century as the most complete architectural work produced. So much has been written and said of the beauty of the individual buildings that many have lost sight of the work as a whole. The real art work - the design - was the ensemble. While the structures themselves were derived from classical prototypes, the grouping was thoroughly original, and the carrying out of the design was accomplished in a way that cannot fail to influence future architectural efforts to a remarkable degree. The two great points of interest were the Court of Honor and the Art Building, located at opposite ends of the grounds. The artistic effect produced by the noble proportions of the Art Palace mirrored in the placid surface of the lagoon made a picture the beauty of which cannot be described in words. So much enthusiasm was created in the early days of Exposition work by Mr. Atwood's beautiful buildings that little attention was given to, and less expected from, the national art sections then gradually assuming shape within its portals. Only later the visitors realized that here were gathered artistic wealth from all the world; not only the exceptional products of the painting and sculpture of our own time, but the most characteristic types or architecture and the arts utilized in the embellishment of structures in earlier periods. The vast collection of sculptural and architectural reproductions contributed by the Government of France - in part a gift to the people of the United States, to find a place in a public museum - illustrated the development of the fine arts in that country during the medieval and renaissance period. In the East Court of the Art Palace were grouped huge portals, galleries, tombs, columns, pilasters and architectural details, enriched by ornaments and sculptured figures. At the east end of the court, facing the center, was the central portal and part of the west front of the Abbey Church of St. Gilles - perhaps the finest example of Romanesque architecture dating from the XIIth Century. From the center of the court rose the great gothic portal of the north transept of the Cathedral of Bordeaux, one of the most artistic examples of the XVth Century. Facing the latter, at the west end of the court, was the reproduction from the famous gallery of the Cathedral of Limoges, one of the most interesting types of French renaissance of the XVIth Century. Thus, in chronological order, were placed examples of the three great dominating styles of French architecture, placed so that comparison readily could be made - comparison which a few years ago only could be made through drawings or engravings and miles of travel. There is temptation to write at length of these great works; of the simplicity and diginity of the Romanesque portal; the [Next Page]

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Digital History Collection
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