Palace of Fine Arts | One Fine Arts Drive
Architect: Cass Gilbert, 1904
Palace of Fine Arts (1904-1905) | Saint Louis Art Museum (1905 - present)
The dozens of critters mounted on the front of Cass Gilbert’s Palace of Fine Arts (which include not just lions but also lizards, fish, historically significant humans, and even what looks like some sort of kabuki god) may be largely overlooked in favor of the treasures housed inside, but it’s hard to feel sorry for them considering their vantage point.
Situated on what is possibly the most prime piece of real estate in the city (it could at the very least hold its own in a bar fight with the Gateway Arch grounds and the intersection of Lindell and Kingshighway), Gilbert’s elegantly understated structure was the only building from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (the lead architect of which was fellow lion-tamer Isaac Taylor) built to stick around, and it’s held up remarkably over the years, thanks in no small part to a healthy investment from the city and local philanthropists. ”Dedicated to Art and Free to All” reads the building’s inscription, and admission to the museum inside is indeed, like virtually everything in Forest Park, free.
And they’re open late on Fridays, so if you hurry you might be able to sneak in and stock up on some culture for the weekend. Give my best to the little guys above on your way in.Posted 3 years ago with 3 notes