"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Friday, September 17, 2021


This image of Vesta goddess of the hearth,  is part of John Gregory's 1941 allegorical high relief panel entitled “Urban Life” in the plaza in front of the Municipal Building in Washington, DC. Vesta, the eternal virgin, here represents Sanitation.

Goode, in 1974,  described the panel  this way:
This high-relief panel, located at the west entrance to the Municipal Center Building of the District of Columbia, was designed by John Gregory, who also created the pier reliefs at the C Street entrance to the Federal Reserve Board and the relief panels representing Shakespeare's plays at the Folger Library. Here, various aspects of organized urban life are allegorically shown: courts, hospitals, business, and sanitation. The Courts are represented by Maia, the mother of Mercury by Zeus; Aesculapius, god of healing, symbolizes Hospitals; Commerce is represented by fleet Mercury, and the Sanitation Department by Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Maia sits in profile at the east end of the panel; Aesculapius, the physician, is standing before her with his staff; Mercury, with a wind-swept cloak, is behind him, and at Mercury's feet is Vesta, crouching over her lamp. 
Fleet Mercury, representing Commerce.

Aesculapius, God of Healing, representing Hospitals. 

Maia, Mother of Mercury, representing Law 

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