Baton Rouge, Louisiana – LSU – Allen Hall Murals

25 Sep

18 ft by 15 ft Fresco Mural Painted in the Late 1930s by Carol Brown Dietrich Under the Direction of Conrad Albrizio. It is Located Under the Northeast Portico of Allen Hall at LSU in Baton Rouge.

LSU has a beautiful campus.  Aside from the million cars trying to park, there is art and history and architecture and natural wonders all over the campus.  It is a joy to pass under the large oaks around campus and to witness the flowering dogwoods and the many azaleas.  Of course thousands upon thousands  visit Tiger Stadium and the Assembly Center and of course Mike the Tiger.  The quadrangle offers a park like setting in right in the middle of the main part of the campus and many students enjoy that environment between classes or just to sit a spell and relax and talk.  When students head into the buildings around the quadrangle the thoughts get more serious and classes become top importance.  When walking to and from classes it is hard to notice and to appreciate some of the great art work that is exhibited to students on a daily basis.  Allen Hall at LSU has some of the best fresco murals that can be found and I must have walked by these murals a hundred times without really taking notice.

Back in the 1930s and 1940s the late Conrad Albrizio, LSU’s first professor of painting and an internationally known fresco painter, guided 5 undergraduate art students as they painted history onto the walls of Allen Hall.  Sue Brown Dietrich, Jean Birkland McCandless, and the late Roy Henderson, Ben Porter Watkins and Anne Woolfolk White painted panels for an interior mural at the east end of Allen Hall.  The restoration of the interior murals and another exterior mural was undertaken to celebrate the university’s 75th Campus Jubilee in 2001, which commemorated the 75 years LSU has been located at its present site.  The exterior mural was also painted on the wall outside the northeast portico of Allen Hall but it was painted over in the 1960s.  Well, that explains why I never noticed the one outside because it was after that I attended LSU.

A Section of the LSU Allen Hall Murals. Cotton and Hand Labor were Important Parts of the States Economy When the Murals were Painted.

Sue Brown Dietrich painted the fresco under the portico. The mural was Dietrich’s master’s thesis project.  Approximately 18 feet wide by 15 feet high, the mural represents the importance of both education and hard work. It depicts two men, one smaller crouching under the arm of another larger man, and a large red-headed woman embracing a child. A huge wheel, representing industry, forms the backdrop.  It took Deitrich eight hours a day for a month to paint the mural.

My photos do not capture the beauty or the work entailed in the murals nor the scope of their size.  They truly are works of art and then some.  They have to be seen in person to be appreciated and everyone that I know, that has seen them, has been fascinated.  It is best to visit on a weekend since the press of the students makes it hard to sit and contemplate as one “reads” the mural.  I can’t remember why I passed through Allen Hall just a couple of years ago and really noticed the murals for the first time.  After viewing them for a long while I then stepped outside through the northeast portico and gasped at what I saw.  Great works of art for all to see and appreciate at LSU in Baton Rouge.  If you are on campus it would well be worth your time to see the wonderful murals in Allen Hall.

Timber and Waterways and Fishing are Integral Parts of Louisiana's Economy and Culture.

Albrizio was an international known fresco painter and was a perfectionist for fine work. He used the same techniques as the Italian fresco masters in the 15th and 16th centuries. The LSU murals compare very well to the highest quality frescos in Italy.  Also there are more murals in Allen Hall awaiting restoration.

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