Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library Charles McKim Building
BPL Charles McKim Building

The Boston Public Library building in Copley Square was completed in 1895. It is a rare public building in Boston of beautiful Italian Renaissance style. Its designer was Charles McKim, and was built to resemble a classic Roman palace; including a central courtyard.

 

BPL St. Gaudens' Lions
BPL St. Gaudens' Lions

Just inside the front entrance of the McKim building is a grand marble staircase. On either side there are statues of bold lions, sculpted by artist Louis St. Gaudens. The lions are a memorial to the 2nd and 20th Massachusetts Regiments of the Civil War. Augustus St. Gaudens, famous sculptor of the Shaw Memorial on Beacon Hill, was the brother of Louis.

 

Muses by Chavannes
Chavannes' Muses

The grand staircase ends at the Puvis de Chavannes Gallery. The above mural has been called Muses Welcoming the Genius of Enlightenment. There are several other paintings in the gallery, with a theme of poetry, philosophy, history, and science. About Muses, Chavannes had said, "The muses of inspiration hail the spirit, the harbinger of light."

 

Abbey's Quest For The Holy Grail
Abbey's Quest For The Holy Grail

The delivery room is named after its artist Edwin Austin Abbey. There are 15 murals adorning the walls, with the subject being The Quest for the Holy Grail in Christendom. Also note, the McKim Building includes murals by acclaimed American artist John Singer Sargent.

 

McKim Building Courtyard
McKim Building Central Courtyard

At the center of the McKim building is a beautiful courtyard, with statues and a fountain. The Boston Public Library is in itself almost a museum. It attests to the importance of higher learning in the City of Boston.

Building Location:

Boston Public Library 
(main address)
 
700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116 
617.536.5400 
bpl.org

MBTA: Copley Station (Green Line)

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