Ceiling mural depicts great minds of history|
The atrium's ceiling features a 700-square-foot circular mural, The Great Minds of History, by H. D Tylle. The mural also draws from varied aspects of the Man at Work Collection, relates to the mosaic and the windows, represents the teaching and research of MSOE and follows an artistic tradition.
The earliest representation of blacksmithing is that of Vulcan, who forges arrows for his son, Cupid, while Venus (his wife) watches. The scene is repeated in several paintings in the collection. Tylle references a painting from the 1580s: The Element of Fire, by a student of the Italian painter Francesco Bassano [1559-1592].
In the mural, Tylle portrays the worlds of the gods and the inventive human spirit as a juxtaposition to the manual laborers of the mosaic tile floor. His belief that the industrial development of humankind was — and is — only possible through the curiosity, perseverance, and endless desire for scientific knowledge is represented by Johannes Gutenberg, Leronardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie and Albert Einstein.
The presence of the inventors also suggest the special role of the art collection at MSOE. Enriched with knowledge, students will travel through the gate into their future. The inscription CARPE DIEM (“Seize the day”) reminds them that their time as a student is valuable, whereas the quote from a 14th century architect SCIENTIA SINE ARS NIHIL EST (“Science without art is nothing”) emphasizes the quality of the education they receive at MSOE.
Tylle used live models for the figures of great thinkers, achieving a particularly intense portraiture. Furthermore, he borrowed costumes for his models from the Kassel Staatstheater to heighten the realism of the portraits. In the center of the painting is one of the greatest and most important engineering feats of human history: the wheel. © 2007, The Grohmann Museum at Milwaukee School of Engineering
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