While most people are familiar with the massive celestial mural in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal (I’ve done two separate articles about it myself), most don’t realize the storied railroad hub is home to another vaulted work of art. Located in the Graybar Passage, between Grand Central Market and the Graybar building, 20 feet above commuters’ heads is an oft-overlooked painting devoted to Jazz Age industry and innovation.
On this new episode of “Bookworm History”, we’re discussing the man and the history behind the Diary of George Templeton Strong. Today, his diary is one of the most valuable primary sources for historians studying the American Civil War. Strong’s writings weren’t just limited to that conflict though. He wrote almost daily for 40 years, providing historians with a wealth of information about New York City in the nineteenth century! But who was the man behind the diary?
If you were a painter in the 17th century, what would have been the best way to ensure your face is remembered? If you’re Vermeer, Rembrandt, or Dürer (especially Dürer!), you paint yourself into every work someone asks you do!
What is the easiest way to tie together a 3rd century BC Greek historian, a 16th century Italian iconographer, a 17th century Dutch revolt, a 19th century Austrian count, and a 20th century German dictator?
How about a painting by one of the greatest artists of all time?
Greetings, folks! Just finished up a new Bookworm History episode over on the YouTube channel! This one’s all about the various portraits and pictures thought to depict the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon, William Shakespeare and whether any of them accurately illustrate what he looked like. Check it out!
Do you think any of these images actually depict Shakespeare? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Arguably one of the most famous ceilings in the world, the mural high above Grand Central Terminal’s main concourse is as fascinating as it is awe-inspiring. While much has been written about it (yes, it is mostly backwards and no, no one’s really sure why Orion’s turned the way he is) one detail that seems to be overlooked is in hidden in plain sight, the proverbial fly-on-the-wall. Or in this case, a fly on the ceiling.
Even before Grand Central Terminal officially opened on February 2, 1913 New Yorkers were teased with descriptions of the starry mural that had been painted on its vaulted ceiling, with the New York Times telling of its “effect of illimitable space” and how “fortunately there are no chairs in the concourse or…some passengers might miss their trains while contemplating this starry picture.” While the effect the painting has on commuters today is the same, the mural has undergone significant change. In fact, it’s not even the same mural.