In each corner of this pavilion are relief sculptures by Bela Lyon Pratt (1867–1917). The sculptures represent Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Murals by William De Leftwich Dodge (1867–1935) ornament the walls and ceiling.
In the domed ceiling the artist has depicted Ambition, represented by the Unattainable Ideal, who holds the palm branch awarded for achievement and rides on a great winged horse. She is led by Fame, who holds the horse’s bridle and blows her trumpet in the direction of the chaotic group of strivers below them. Ambition is shown as the incentive for all human efforts, in art and science.
On the left a murderer topples a tripod and looks back at the body of a miser whom he has just slain. Three figures reach desperately toward Fame: a helmeted warrior, a sculptor bearing a statuette of the Venus de Milo, and a man being held back by a temptress. A blind poet is seated and on the far right a jester looks toward the viewer, rather than at Fame, as he holds a skull in one hand and a statuette of Victory in the other. He mocks the strivings of personal ambition in this life, knowing that real fame comes only after death. The wall murals below represent a related area of achievement: Literature, Music, Art, and Science.
Photography by Carol M. Highsmith.