“Medeval Rhetoric” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Viewing and thinking about the old Education Hall (now Miller Hall) grotesques makes me appreciate what a well-rounded liberal arts education would be. Education has many dimensions with various perspectives from different points of view ranging across cultures, times, and topics.
I feel a little remorse not being exposed to this level of learning as I progressed through a technical degree. I missed a lot during my formal engineering and business education. Over the years I have filled in many of the gaps through reading and recently on-line classes. I currently enjoy viewing lectures from the “Great Courses” on-line education programs. It is never too late to continue learning.
This posting will close my grotesque series for the time being.
“Grammar Teacher and Students” Miller Hall, University of Washington
We need more of these!
I remember grammar classes in school when growing up from grade school through the first couple of years in high school. They were not my favorite, but I learned a lot. Throughout my professional career, clear writing was imperative and essential to communicate. I am thankful for the grammar education I received in my early years.
Now, grammar is not formally taught in many of our schools. Much of our communication is through social media. Most of it is extremely poorly written and sloppy.
“Astronomy Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Astronomy is a topic that I have always been interested. During my years at the University as an engineering student, I did not have much of an opportunity to take elective classes outside of engineering-related disciplines if I wanted to graduate in 4 years.
I had to wait until I graduated to take a couple of astronomy classes at the University of Washington “Experimental College”. Subsequently I have taken on-line classes through the “Great Courses” to satisfy my curiosity. There is always opportunity to learn something new. Now, I need to learn how to apply a little creative photography to it.
And we are now laying the foundation to a manned landing on Mars!
“The Fish Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
In this grotesque on Miller Hall, the Roman god Neptune is depicted with a fish over his head. I have spent a couple of hours trying to research the connection between Neptune, a fish, and teaching. No luck so far…
“The Phoenician Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
This grotesque, the Phoenician Teacher, is also located on the third floor of Miller Hall. Miller Hall, built in 1922, was originally “Education Hall”, thus being decorated with education-related figures. Carl Gould was the building’s architect. Alonzo Victor Lewis created the 44 sculptures adorning the building.
“Chinese Teacher (Confucius) Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
The Quadrangle, located in the “Upper Campus” of the University of Washington, is the center point for the classic Collegiate Gothic architecture on campus. This was were the non-engineering students and all the attractive girls had their classes. They did not allow engineers to grace the halls of these classic buildings. We were all too busy with our slide-rules. In the six years that I attended the UW, I never had a class there.
Even though I did not attend any classes there, I had ample time to stroll through the Quad on the way to the Chemistry and Physics Buildings and the Suzzallo Library. While doing so, I would occasionally look up at the strange figures on the buildings. I always called them gargoyles. But as I discovered later, they are really grotesques. They are differentiated from gargoyles in that gargoyles have water coming out of them from rain down spouts.
For the next several postings I will focus on a few of these pieces of art.
WWI Soldier Grotesque – Smith Hall, Univ. of Washington
This WWI soldier grotesque has intrigued me since I first attended the University of Washington in 1968. It is located on Smith Hall in the University of Washington Quadrangle. The figure commemorates WWI complete with the gas mask.
Over the years, I have photographed this grotesque multiple times. For some reason, my images have not turned out: out of focus, too light, too dark, or branches/leaves cluttering the image. During my last visit, I was determined to get an acceptable image. I was lucky that it was an overcast day. The soft light on the soldier was relatively even without deep shadows. I walked around to get a perspective that gave me the most eerie mood.
“The Columns” – Sylvan Theater, University of Washington Campus
A couple of weeks ago, I spent several hours walking around the University of Washington campus. I had not been there for about 15 years. How much things have changed. My old hangout, the EEB (Electrical Engineering Building) has been completely remodeled and enlarged with a large new section for Computer Science.. When I was there, Computer Science was just a small part of the EE Department. Now it is its own Department with over 1300 students.
During class breaks, I use to go to the Sylvan Theater and the Columns just behind the EEB. It was a wonderful peaceful place to sit and wonder about what the future would bring, The Sylvan Theater was just about the same as I recall it was 50 years ago. However, there were several students there with hard hats, surveying equipment, and tape measures. They were taking measurements to design a new courtyard to replace a good part of the grass. I feel a little sorrow to see my old memories change. But I guess it is for the best. Those memories are great ones!