Feb 27, 2018

C. Paul Jennewein: Beefcake Sculptures on National Monuments

In the Great Hall of the Department of Justice, there's a semi-nude statue representing the Spirit of Justice.  She stands 12 feet tall, and is wearing a Roman toga, with one breast bare.  In 2002 Attorney General John Ashcroft objected to being photographed near a bare breast, so she was blocked.

 But no one seems to notice that there's another statue in the Great Hall, the Majesty of Justice, a nude male in a stylized art deco style, carrying a torch.

Both are the work of C. Paul Jennewein (1890-1978), who sculpted 57 sculptures for the building in 1933-34.  He also sculpted a lot of public works with substantial beefcake, like the figures from Greek mythology on the pediment for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And the Annex at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis.  This sculpture represents sculpture.

Jennewein was born in Germany and apprenticed to the Stuttgart Art Museum at age 13.  At age 17, he moved to New York, where he lived with architect Charles Lauter.  He enlisted in World War I, studied art in Rome, and then returned to New York, where he lived in the Bronx for the rest of his life.  He was married, and had five children.

While living with his wife and kids, he sculpted this massive naked man with a sword and shield in the World War I Memorial, previously located in Providence, Rhode Island.

And this Hercules on the facade of the Education Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

It wasn't all facades.  Here's his "American Youth"  at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium, for American soldiers who died on foreign soil.

Was he gay, or just enamored of classical nudity?  Your guess is as good as mine.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing beats the National Boy Scout Memorial on the Ellipse in Washington DC. Not exactly the message they intended. https://www.asla.org/uploadedImages/Guide/Washington/Neighborhoods/The_White_House/23_new.jpg


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