Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Rosenberg Fountain "Hebe" in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois.

The Rosenberg Fountain is of the Greek goddesses of Mount Olympus "Hebe," sculpted by artist Franz Machtl.
{Hebe is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is a cupbearer to the gods, and myth holds that Apollo dismissed her after she indecently exposed her breasts while serving drinks. 
Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek mythology and religion who ruled as King of the Gods of Mount Olympus. Hera is the goddess of women and marriage in Greek mythology and religion. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera is married to her brother Zeus and is titled as the Queen of Heaven.}
While working as a newsboy in Chicago, Joseph Rosenberg (1848-1891) could never convince local merchants to spare him a drink of water. He vowed that if he were ever to become wealthy, he would create a fountain where newsboys could get a drink on a hot day.

Joseph Rosenberg was the son of Jacob Rosenberg, co-founder of Michael Reese Hospital and of Chicago’s first Jewish congregation, KAM Temple. After leaving Chicago and making his fortune in San Francisco, he left a $10,000 bequest for an ornamental drinking fountain to be erected on a prominent corner somewhere on the South Side of Chicago. 
The miniature Greek temple with fluted Doric columns was designed by Chicago-based architects Bauer & Hill serves as the base for the figure Hebe. It originally housed an illuminated fountain. The inscription reads, “Presented by Joseph Rosenberg San Francisco, Cal.” Rosenberg’s fountain was installed in 1893, two years after his death. The South Park Commissioners installed the fountain sculptor near Rosenberg’s childhood home close to Grant Park at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and East 11th Street.
   
The original conception for the sculpture was to depict Hebe in the nude. The executors of the will, however, were worried that some visitors might be offended, and they did not want to tarnish to the memory of Joseph Rosenberg. They thus decided to present the goddess in draped clothing. The female figure holds a cup in one hand and pitcher in the other - a pose consistent with many other neoclassical depictions of Hebe.

In 2004, the Chicago Park District restored the fountain and the sculpture that was cast in Munich, Germany. Artist Franz Machtl’s design features an 11-foot tall bronze figure depicting Hebe, daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is the Goddess of Youth and the Cupbearer to the Gods symbolizing rejuvenation. 

Today, this monument functions as an ornamental fountain, but no longer provides drinking water. 

The "Goddess of Youth" fountain in the Lincoln Park Conservatory also depicts the goddess Hebe.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

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