Patience and Fortitude, the world-renowned pair of marble lions that stand proudly before the majestic Beaux-Arts building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, have captured the imagination and affection of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world since the Library was dedicated on May 23, 1911.
Patience, south of the main stepsPatience, south of the main steps
Called “New York’s most lovable public sculpture” by architecture critic Paul Goldberger, the Lions have witnessed countless parades and been adorned with holly wreaths during the winter holidays and magnificent floral wreaths in springtime. They have been bedecked in top hats, graduation caps, Mets and Yankee caps, and more. They have been photographed alongside countless tourists, replicated as bookends, caricatured in cartoons, and illustrated in numerous children’s books. One even served as the hiding place for the cowardly lion in the motion picture The Wiz.
According to Henry Hope Reed in his book, The New York Public Library, about the architecture of the Fifth Avenue building, the sculptor Edward Clark Potter obtained the commission for the lions on the recommendation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America's foremost sculptors. Potter was paid $8,000 for the modeling, and the Piccirilli Brothers executed the carving for $5,000, using pink Tennessee marble. After enduring almost a century of weather and pollution, in 2004 the lions were professionally cleaned and restored. Unfortunately, the popular tradition of decorating the lions also endangered them, so the practice has been discontinued on the recommendation of the conservators.
Their nicknames have changed over the decades. First they were called Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, after The New York Public Library founders John Jacob Astor and James Lenox. Later, they were known as Lady Astor and Lord Lenox (even though they are both male lions). During the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia named them Patience and Fortitude, for the qualities he felt New Yorkers would need to survive the economic depression. These names have stood the test of time: Patience still guards the south side of the Library's steps and Fortitude sits unwaveringly to the north.
As a tribute to the Lions' popularity and all that they stand for, the Library adopted these figures as its mascots. They are trademarked by the Library, represented in its logo, and featured at major occasions.
To learn more, consult Top Cats: the Life and Times of The New York Public Library Lions by Susan G. Larkin. This publication surveys their history through photographs, cartoons, prints, original drawings, memorabilia, and lively tales. Published by the Library and Pomegranate, Top Cats is available at your local public library and online at The Library
Shop.Top Cats: The Life and Times of The New York Public Library Lions
Susan G. Larkin
The magnificent marble lions flanking the entrance to The New York Public Library are familiar and beloved icons for New Yorkers and visitors to the city alike. Modeled by sculptor Edward Clark Potter and carved from pink Tennessee marble by the Piccirilli brothers in 1911, they have endured for nearly a century. Called "New York's most lovable public sculpture" by architecture critic Paul Goldberger, the Lions have witnessed countless parades, have been bedecked with wreaths and crowned with all manner of headgear, and have been featured in children's books and The New Yorker.
Read More: http://www.nypl.org/node/29523
"Patience" and "Fortitude"
1970 Majestic Lions Postcard
New York Public Library Lion Bookends $129.00
$260New York Library Lions Bookends - Patience & Fortitude - Edward ...www.museumstorecompany.com
And to capture it all is the centerpice of Bryant park, the New York Public Library, and its majestic lions of course. http://jkillustration.weebly.com/field-trip-1.html
Bronze Lion Paperweight, 13449