The Americans built the Washington Monument as a tribute to the leadership of their first president, George Washington. He led Americans during the American Revolution, which took place from 1775 to1783 after which the Americans obtained their independence. It took the Americans nearly thirty-six years to complete the construction of the monument. It was dedicated on 21 February 1885 and three years later, it was opened to the public. Research has shown that the monument attracts more than 800,000 people who visit Washington DC to view it.1 The monument has several aspects that make it fit in the development of art in antiquity.
As aforementioned, the sole reason for the construction of a monument is to commemorate a significant person in the history of the Americans. Just like the construction of any other monument of public significance, the public chose the person they wanted to commemorate with or without his/her consent. When he was still alive, George Washington tried to ward off the idea of the Americans building a monument in his honor. However, the people’s decision was final resulting to the erection of the monument after his death. It follows that the construction of the monument was not a decision made by Washington but was a decision by the majority of the Americans in the 1880s. The monument stands as a figurative commemoration to the first president of the United States of America.
The monument’s design resembles an Egyptian obelisk. An obelisk refers to a monumental four-sided tapering column with a pointed top called pyramidion.2 The initial design of the monument showed that the monument would have a flat top but Cassey Mills, the successor of Robert Mills, changed it to meet the specific features of the ancient Egyptian obelisk. Following the alteration of the design, fitted on top of the monument is a pyramidal cap made of aluminium. Therefore, the monument is not only an important figure for the Americans but also a form of appreciation of the ancient Egyptian art an attribute that makes it fit in the development of art in antiquity.
The materials that the ancient Americans used in constructing the monument are significant to the nation. Every state in America had to contribute materials for the construction of the monument. The marble, sandstone and granite used in its construction are wholly American. This was not only for its durability but also for to show the beauty and the pride of the Americans. In ancient times, people believed that there was more of builder’s art than the outward patterning of the building materials.3 The use of these materials from every American state was an integrated expression of the American’s state of harmony and unity.
Carrot, Richard. The Egyptian Revival. California: University of California Press, 1978. Print.
George, Kerr. The History of an Island people. Tokyo: Turtle Publishing Company, 2003. Print.
Kenneth, Bowling. Peter Charles L ‘Enfant: Vision, Honor and Male Friendship in the Early American
Republic. Washington DC: George Washington University Press, 2002. Print.