The sun at setting is represented by a beautiful woman. The day is just about to close and with muscles relaxed (knees bent, head drooping, arms falling, wings folding) she is soon to sink to slumber, to pass from view. This is what is suggested by calling the figure the Setting Sun.
In the Fine Arts Palace, Mr. A. A. Weinmann has called the same figure “Descending Night,” and that title is much more consistent and satisfactory, for how are you going to account for the youthful sun’s appearing at the end of the day as a woman?
Then again the reliefs refer to “Descending Night,” for they are called “The Mysteries of Dusk.”
Now raise your eyes to those beautiful cameo figures on the burnt orange ground at the entrance to the colonnades, and you will be carried in thought to the Zodiac, that great imaginary belt thru which the sun and planets travel.
There you see the zodiacal figures, two and two, with their symbols, gliding thru space.
The clouds or nebulous matter is suggested by the female figures with swirling drapery, toward the end of the frieze.
In the center stands Atlas, mythologically the first astronomer. Your fancy has carried you on the wings of the wind at this very suggestion. These fourteen maids are Atlas’ fourteen daughters.
Go close to the die of the fountain of the Rising Sun and look at the reliefs.
The subject is Day Triumphant. The genius of Time with hour-glass is followed by the genius of Light with flaming torch, and Energy sounds on his trumpet the announcement of the break of day.
Truth follows with mirror and sword emerging triumphant from the sinister powers of Darkness. Falsehood shrinks from its own image reflected in the mirror of Truth. Vice cowers and struggles in the coils of a serpent.
Walk over to the corresponding die on the fountain of Descending Night. On it are shown the Gentle Powers of the Night. Dusk envelops in her cloak Labor, Love and Peace.
Following are Illusions carried upon the wings of Sleep. Then come the Evening Mists, followed by the Star Dance and Luna, goddess of the Silver crescent. (Let me acknowledge the kind help of Mr. A. A. Weinmann in the interpretation of these reliefs.)
You have swept your mind over the cosmical side of the Court of the Universe on objects at a great distance. Come closer now to view the elements. These colossal figures of Earth, Air, Water, Fire assume a certain majesty in this Court of the Universe.
They are in horizontal composition and add greatly to the decorative, side of this inspiring court.
Earth — The sleeping Earth which yields to man wood (from the great trees whose roots ramify below the surface of the ground), stone and minerals — (man wrests thru great muscular strength these substances from the earth).
Air — That holds to her ear the star. She is listening to the music of the spheres. On her back are wings which man has fastened so that he can overcome her — a fine suggestion to aerial navigation.