Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities: Carnegie Library and art

Plaster Replicas of sections of Parthenon Frieze, Athens, original frieze 443-438 B.C.
Purchased by Washburn College from P.P. Caproni and Brother, Boston, 1910
Washburn University, courtesy of the Mulvane Art Museum

Plaster replicasThese plaster casts were originally displayed in the Reference Room of the Carnegie Library, as seen in the photograph below. According to Catalogue of the Art Collection, Washburn College, 1940, these casts were “Made from the original Greek and Roman sculptures in European museums. … [They] were purchased … by Americans eager to surround themselves with the things of a deeply rooted culture. Since these casts represent Greek works of the classical age and Hellenistic and Roman copies of such works, they attest to the survival in late nineteenth-century America of the same taste which led men like Thomas Jefferson to build Greek temples for homes and have their effigies carved in the guise of Greek philosophers.”

Another cast of the Parthenon Frieze hung in the classroom of the Mulvane Art Museum.  Art students copied them to learn how to draw.

Photograph of the Reference Room of Carnegie Library, c. 1920s

Carnegie library

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