Beaux Arts Architecture in the Spotlight
On West 45th Street in New York City, wedged between buildings more than twice it’s (46)height, stands the Lyceum Theatre. Tourists and New Yorkers alike regularly filling (47)this theater to its 900-seat capacity. Most are there to attend a performance; a few, for example, (48)are likely to be architecture buffs they come to (49)admire the stunning building itself. Built in 1903, the theater exemplifies the Beaux Arts architectural style, which fuses elements of classical Greek and Roman design with Renaissance and Baroque details.
The Beaux Arts revival of classical Greek and Roman architecture is apparent on first view of the theater. The Lyceum’s façade—the exterior front, or “face,” of the building—features half a dozen Corinthian columns. Above the columns extends a horizontal stone band called a frieze; carved into it are(50) the classical theatrical masks that represent comedy and tragedy. (51)
Demonstrating the Beaux Arts infusion of Renaissance and Baroque details, tall, arched French windows, symmetrically placed between the columns, lighten the imposing gray limestone structure. [A] Above the windows and frieze, an exterior balcony spans the width of the gray (52)building. [B] The balcony is fenced with a balustrade, (53)a stone railing supported by a row of waist-high, vase-shaped pillars. [C] The ornate interior of the building is consistent with its elaborate exterior. [D] Not just one but two marble-finished grand staircases lead from the foyer to the mid level seating area, called the mezzanine. Inside the theater itself, elegant chandeliers illuminate (54) rose-colored walls that have gold accents. (55)In keeping with sumptuous. Beaux Arts style, curved rows of plush purple chairs embrace the stage.(56) (57)
Patrons (58)credit the handsome Beaux Arts aesthetic with adding enhancement to (59)their theatergoing experience. Though smaller and more cramped than many newer theaters audience members often note that legroom is limited—the Lyceum’s distinctive atmosphere continues to delight theater fans as well as architecture enthusiasts.
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