Along with my picture-loving colleagues, I’d like to nominate one of our favorite depictions of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, as an appropriate symbol with which to mark the arrival of the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.
This mosaic of a studious Minerva greets visitors, researchers and staff in an area overlooking the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, where Dr. Hayden was sworn in yesterday. Appropriately for a library that encompasses information in a wide variety of subjects and formats, Minerva not only represents universal knowledge, but has music, poetry, medicine, commerce and crafts within her purview.
In the mosaic, bright sunlight shines down on Minerva, aiding her perusal of a scroll, which lists the various fields of knowledge. That, too, offers an appropriate symbol–a bright future ahead for the Library of Congress as it continues to preserve and share information in all its forms.
- Witness history by viewing the Librarian’s swearing-in ceremony and follow Dr. Hayden’s thoughts about the Library of Congress and her new job through her Twitter feed.
- As befits an institution whose hallmark is depth as well as breadth of information, the Prints and Photographs Division holds several of artist Elihu Vedder’s studies for the finished mosaic, inviting research on the conception and evolution of his design. [View studies for the mosaic].
- The Library of Congress Jefferson Building features Minerva seemingly at every turn. Can you locate other art works in which she appears? Hint: You might try the Carol M. Highsmith Archive in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog or look through the online tour, On These Walls.
- Explore additional resources on the Jefferson Building in our reference aid, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building: Art and Architecture.