5 Famous Uses of Marble Throughout History
The uses of marble are vast and plentiful, and with that comes some very iconic implementations of this marvelous material. Marble makes up the base for some of the most recognizable structures throughout history, from large scale public buildings to artful statues that have been discussed for centuries. Here are 5 uses of marble that have stood the test of time.
The Washington Monument
Finishing construction in 1884, the Washington Monument remains one of the most profound uses of marble even though it’s a relatively recent structure. This free-standing structure stands out in the DC skyline as it doesn’t adhere to DC building code regulations and stands tall at 555 feet. It was the tallest building in the world until the construction of the Eifel Tower around five years later. Interesting fact: The color of the marble changes after 152 feet as construction was halted temporarily to secure funding. The marble used after the 152-mark is from a different quarry. The stones used in the monument are from Maryland and Massachusetts.
The Taj Mahal
Commissioned in 1632 and completed in its entirety by 1653, the Taj Mahal stands as one of the most distinctive uses of marble from the east. Built as the gravesite of Shan Jahan’s favorite wife (Mumtaz Mahal), this monument was built as a way to honor the 19-year marriage and required a tremendous amount of manpower to construct. The Taj Mahal is so valuable to India that during times of war there’s actually a concealing mechanism that allows it to be covered so no bombers can target it. Cars and buses are actually prohibited from being within 500 meters of the Taj Mahal as a way of preserving the exterior (keeping that marble gleaming!). This level of maintenance and care is why this marvelous structure still stands today.
While the Statue of David may be one of the smaller uses of marble on this list it’s definitely one of the most significant. Regarded as one of the greatest statues ever created, David stands at 17 feet tall and was crafted during the height of the renaissance in 1504. The statue depicts the biblical hero just before his great battle with Goliath, as evidenced by the look of anxiety on his face. There are actually two other copies of David that exist throughout Florence but the original lies in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Many other copies of David exist throughout the world, but only 4 known replicas made of marble (bronze is the most popular alternate material).
Built between 113 and 125 AD, the Pantheon is a remarkable feat in architecture and remains in use to this day. Though the exterior marble has been stripped, the interior marble remains intact through consistent restoration. The original pantheon actually burned down but was rebuilt shortly after. Historians have been unable to agree on when exactly this rebuilding occurred, making the pantheon one of the more ambiguous uses of marble when it comes to its actual age. Its use as a church over a millennium is a big reason for its level of preservation considering its age. Fun Fact: The Pantheon features the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world at 142 feet in height and diameter.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
It took two centuries to build this marble monument, which dominates tourist photos all across social media, taking place from 1173 to 1372. A shallow foundation and soft ground make this, historically, one of the more flawed uses of marble but no less iconic. These issues were actually noticed early in construction but the project continued to completion. The tower’s lean actually stopped in 2008 as a result of engineers working over a decade to secure its foundation. After so many centuries the tower’s lean settled at 5.5 degrees, or 15 feet south of the bottom. The tower is only projected to remain stable for the next 200 years or so though, so in 2218 humans will have to find a new way to secure the structure.
Marble has been a fundamental material in architecture all throughout human history and remains in use heavily today. If you want to get that classic look in your home, it’s very much feasible thanks to companies like JC Marble Restoration! Contact us to add that historical look to your home or to clean up and restore what you already have, and follow us on Facebook for future updates!