Saturday, December 1, 2012

Revisiting Austin, Texas

John and I remembered that we did not tour the capital of Texas when we were last in Texas, which was almost two years ago.  On my posting then I had a picture of the capitol, so I will not repeat that again here.  When we arrived in the capitol building we learned that another tour was not starting very soon so we did our own self-guided tour of the building.  It was built in 1888, and in some parts of the building we noticed that it is showing its age with cracked floors and worn steps.  From the written information received on the capitol, we learned that it was made from Sunset Red granite, taken from the quarry we saw the other day at Marble Falls.The terrazzo floor of the capitol's rotunda has the Great Seal of Texas surrounded by the six seals of the countries whose flags have flown over the state which are: Spain, France, the Republic of Texas,  Mexico, the Confederacy, and the United States of America.  I doubt that there many, if any at all, other states which can claim that in their history!  The chamber of the House of Representatives is the largest room in the building.  Currently the 2012 Lone Star Celebration Christmas tree adorns this room.  Members of the House of Representatives are encouraged to place an ornament on the tree which most uniquely is representative of their district.
Our son Daniel and his wife Amanda use to live in Austin.  They are the ones who recommended that we check out the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Barton Springs while we were in Austin.  After leaving the capitol our next stop was the sculptor garden.  The sculptor, Charles Umlauf came to Austin in 1941 to teach sculpture and life drawing at the University of Texas.  In his later years he chose a wooded hillside overlooking Austin to display his sculptures, which he gifted to the city of Austin.  According to the information provided at the museum connected to the gardens, more of his sculptures can be found in public places of Texas than there are works of any other sculptor.  His subjects are quite diverse, ranging from family groups and animal to religious and mythological creatures and nudes.  The artist, having experienced the years surrounding both World War l and 2, also expresses the horrors of war in his sculptures.
His work of art titled "War Mother" is pictured below.
Barton Springs and Zilker Park are located across the street from the gardens. At Barton Springs  we discovered a large swimming area.  It was a warm day, many dogs and people were in the cool water.

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