Trenton Spotlight
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Trenton City Hall

  • 319 East State Street
  • Trenton, NJ 08608
  • Artwork Creator: Spencer Roberts, Architect
  • Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Access: Open to public
  • Sponsor/Project: n/a
  • Project Date: circa. 1910

Example of Beaux-Arts architecture, prominent during The American Renaissance.

“This style takes its name from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where a number of prominent American architects (including Richard Morris Hunt [1827-95], John Mervin Carrère [1858-1911], and Thomas Hastings [1860-1929], to name only a few) received their training, beginning around the mid-19th century. These architects adopted the academic design principles of the Ecole, which emphasized the study of Greek and Roman structures, composition, and symmetry, and the creation of elaborate presentation drawings. Because of the idealized origins and grandiose use of classical forms, the beaux arts in America was seen as the ideal style for expressing civic pride . . . Grandiose compositions, an exuberance of detail, and a variety of stone finishes typify most beaux arts structures.” – Frommers: New York City Travel Guide

“The American Renaissance, which dominated much of American artistic and intellectual life from the 1870s to the 1920s, existed as both a reality and a mental construct. Not specifically a style or a movement in the commonly accepted art historical sense of those terms, the American Renaissance was more a mood, or a spirit, or a state of mind. Stylistically it encompassed many diverse idioms of painting, architecture, and sculpture; ideologically it held many seemingly contradictory beliefs. The concept of an American Renaissance was not only confined to visual artists, but had a broad base of support with many politicians, financiers, businessmen, academics, and men and women of the American middle class. As an idea or mental concept, the American Renaissance held both nationalistic and cosmopolitan ideals and looked to the past and the future. In many ways the American Renaissance was a delusion, a fabrication, or a self-induced belief that American art and culture could not only draw sustenance from the great ages of past European art – and truly be a ‘renaissance’ – but could also, in the process, create a new American art that would surpass the old world.” – Thomas C. Folk, Public Art in New Jersey During the Period of the American Renaissance

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