Recently, I had the pleasure discovering the fantastic William Brennan County Court House in Jersey City, New Jersey, for a client's print renovation of their New York/ New Jersey offices. The court house is built in the Beaux-Arts architectural style. Its exterior only vaguely hints at the art wonders inside. Italian white/pink marble floor, walls and columns all in the Italianate style adore the interiors. Large colorful Murals or Lunettes cover the third floor walls depict the early history of New York/ New Jersey region and are of the finest art works found in any museum on that period. Ornate roman columns surround the great court of the rotunda.
Photographing it was an lesson in extreme panoramic digital photography. Picking the right perspective in Photomerge was a part of that lesson. Making panoramic landscapes with Photomerge (a feature found in Photoshop) is basically easy but in a interior with many vertical tapered columns is much more difficult! In many cases, many of the Photomerge's settings would just end up so distorted that they would unusable as prints. But, success was accomplished and the client was wholly thrilled!
If you get the chance while in the New York City area, take a ferry to Liberty Island and take a taxi to the court house. You don't need permission to visit, but you do need permission and clearance to photograph in the post 9/11 environment. When I first scouted out the location, I was disappointed to find that the exterior was under restoration with its windows covered in plastic, but once inside I was awe struck. I have been in court houses and state capitals before but this place was amazing. You will be too!
Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
"Roberts delegated the assignment of artwork to the muralist Francis David Millet, noted for his work as decorations director for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago; Millet assigned himself two lunettes on the third floor and a dozen small panels in the second floor corridors. Also on the third floor, Millet assigned two lunettes to Charles Yardley Turner, as well as eight more to Kenyon Cox. Cox also provided the groined ceilings. Edwin Blashfield painted the glass dome and the four pendentives between its supporting arches. The Tudor-style legislative chamber of the Board of Freeholders on the second floor was adorned with murals by Howard Pyle depicting early life of the Dutch and English in New Jersey. This room has been called "one of the handsomest legislative chambers in the United States."
David G. Lowe, writing in American Heritage magazine, described the interior of the building:
"The courthouse interior is a rush of color—pearl gray and green-veined marbles, golden light fixtures, yellow, green, and blue paint. Standing in the great central court, one looks up the three stories of the magnificent rotunda to a dome whose outer rim is painted with the signs of the zodiac and whose center is an eye of stained glass worthy of Tiffany. One feels—as one does in the rotunda at the heart of the Capitol in Washington—the dignity of government and the permanence of law."