Christopher Columbus Monument

This large-scaled representation of Columbus shows the explorer dressed in armor and robes. Left hand on his breastplate, he strides forward and looks out over his shoulder. His hair and facial features are highly individualized: lantern jaw, full, curvy lips, straight nose, deep set eyes and boyishly curled ringlets of hair, he seems -- like a comic book hero or matinee idol -- almost too handsome to be real.
Photo ©: Jyoti Srivastava


Christopher Columbus Monument


1892, originally made for the Columbus Memorial Building in Chicago, exhibited at the Word’s Columbian Exposition, 1893.


Moses Ezekiel (1844-1917)




The late 19th century was a period when the still-young United States of America was trying to establish its cultural identity and asserting its emerging international presence as a world power. Christopher Columbus was one of the historical personages that became a symbol for the search for identity and recognition. Figures from the American Revolution were amply respected and honored, but were still of relatively recent memory in the late 19th century. Columbus was considered a prime figure for reaching back centuries to a symbol of the country’s non-native origins. Christopher Columbus’ identity as a “discoverer” and the folkloric tales that followed were solidified by Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. It was presented as a showcase of world achievement since the landing of Columbus in the Americas four hundred years earlier. Columbus-related memorials and ephemera abounded.