Ideals may be figured forth in female shape precisely because women did not control the processes of justice and liberty, and their images could not be muddled with judges and lawmakers who might fail to live up to the ideal.At Fifth Avenue near 70th Street, fronting Central Park, stands the Daniel Chester French memorial to Richard Morris Hunt, founding president of the American Institute of Architects, architect of the central portion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and designer of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.Over one 34th Street entrance to Macy's in Herald Square, some sturdy Greek nymphs are standing in pairs, apparently deep in conversation.
The convention is ubiquitous in New York as elsewhere, because most of the monumental sculptors of the 19th century in America went to school in Paris and absorbed that city's profusion of allegorical sylphs and maidens, angels and dryads.
Because allegory is an integral part of our common language, nobody has ever had difficulty reading the Statue of Liberty's meaning, regardless of the relationship between women and freedom.
Through their ornamental grace, these caryatids are selling us the goods inside and, like young women around the turn of the century, when this Macy's opened, they are holding hands in the street. C., the architectural historian Vitruvius wrote that caryatids were so called after the women of Caryae, a city that rebelled against the Greeks in the Persian Wars and was defeated.
When the menfolk had been slaughtered, their widows were led away as captives, then dressed in all their finery and displayed in a triumph.
'' Ah, there she was,'' she wrote, ''the symbol of hope, of freedom, of opportunity!
Describe Statue Of Liberty Essay
She held her torch high to light the way to the free country, the asylum for the oppressed of all lands.'' Franz Kafka began his novel '' Amerika,'' published in 1927, with his protagonist's first sight of the statue; '' Round the figure blew the free winds of heaven,'' he describes in awe.
When we look at Liberty in female shape, we are not being invited to consider the freedom of women in classical times, or in the years when the statue was made and presented to the United States by the French Republic.
In neither country did women enjoy equal rights, let alone special access to social and political liberties.
Liberty is embodied as a woman, but this statue does not refer to the history or conditions of women's lives, let alone to an individual woman.
Woman in her case represents the generic sublime, the face of the ideal, timeless, abstract and Other.