Bethesda and the Boathouse

One of my favoritest spots in the world, Bethesda Fountain and the Boathouse, Central Park, Manhattan.

Bethesda & the Boathouse, ink on paper, color added onscreen

Some interesting things I learned about Bethesda Fountain when I looked it up on the internets:

  • It’s called Bethesda Fountain. That’s one of those, “knew that once, forgot, will probably forget again” things for me.
  • It was the first ever commission from a woman, Emma Stebbins, for a major piece of art in New York.
  • Emma was a lesbian who was born in New York but moved to Rome where she studied art and lived with actresses. This was in the 1860s and 70s.
  • In her picture on Wikipedia she looks like Princess Leia as Mary Todd Lincoln.
  • Tony Kushner mistakenly said in the first edition of Angels in America, in which the statue makes a cameo appearance, that she commemorates Civil War dead.
  • Ironically the truth is far more apropos to his play because what she actually represents is a water-blessing, healing-power-giving angel from the Gospel of John, and her pose depicts the act of blessing the water  below her, presumably giving it the power to heal.



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