Bittermann Kitzmiller Room Friezes
The Library's second-floor fiction room houses three beautiful replicas of historical friezes: one from the Parthenon, and two from the cathedral in Florence.
This room was originally built as a lecture hall, and later housed the T.W. Wood Art Gallery from 1953-1985. The Wood Gallery bought the three friezes, which remained in the Library after the Gallery relocated to the Vermont College of Fine Arts campus.
In 2001 the room was re-named in honor of the late Karen Bittermann Kitzmiller, a state legislator from Montpelier and a tireless advocate for the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
The walls that are parallel to Main Street feature slabs replicated from the Parthenon, the 5th-century BC temple built in Athens, Greece, to honor the goddess Athena.
Every year, a festival was held to celebrate regional unity. The citizens would process from the Stadium, where games were played, to the Parthenon, where the victors claimed their prizes. The frieze depicts youths and maidens, priests and magistrates, sacrificial oxen, musicians and singers, and young men riding Thessalian horses. The original was sculpted in marble by Phidias around 440 BC.
Short sections of the Parthenon frieze replicas are also located in the front lobby and the rear stairwell.
A replica of the finest Renaissance bas-relief sculpture is found above the windows that face School Street. The original was sculpted by Luca Della Robbia between 1431-1440 for the chorus gallery in the cathedral in Florence. It depicts singing angels and dancing boys.
Finally, a replica of the façade of the organ gallery for the Florence cathedral is found on the wall facing the main stairwell (facing northeast). The original was sculpted by Donatello Bardi around 1433.
The original slabs of the Florentine friezes are no longer in the cathedral, but are scattered throughout the Bargello Museum in Florence. There are few places in the world where a complete set of them can be seen.