National Gallery of Art, West Building

Discussion Questions

1. Equestrian statues, pyramids, mausoleums, obelisks, temples, and catacombs were all found in the ancient Mediterranean world. Why would each be a fitting memorial to George Washington? Irrespective that the obelisk form was finally chosen, which would you select for ‘your Washington monument’?

2. More specifically describe the form, meaning, and function of the obelisk in ancient Egyptian society? What remaining obelisks survive in modern Egypt, and why and where were some obelisks moved to other countries?

3. Tombs for special individuals are always important within societies. Who was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus built for, and why was a special tomb built for the Roman Emperor Hadrian?

4. What was the symbolism of George Washington in a toga in a Greek chariot driven by an Etruscan winged victory? Where can you find George Washington in a toga today in Washington, D.C.?

5. What does the ancient term “pantheon” stand for? What temple in Rome is referred to as The Pantheon? What other Washington, D.C. buildings were modeled on this pantheon form?

6. Pentelic marble was used in ancient Greece. Where was it found and how was it used?

7. How would George Washington compare with Solon, Themistocles and Pericles of Athens?

8. What do we mean by “Egyptian Revival”? When was this movement popular, and why?