6. The Architect Was Inspired The Arch De Triomphe

Stanford White, the designer for the Washington Square Arch pulled from multiple inspirations, Roman architecture and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris that was built a about 50 years before, being the two most visible influences. White looked to make this one more modern and simple than the one in Paris, but he did also make sure to incorporate more antique elements into the design including allegorical figures, bands of decorative motifs, and wreaths of laurel.

Using White’s design, Frederick MacMonnies did all the relief sculpture work and Phillippe Martiny designed the eagles sitting on the north and south perches of the arch. The reliefs behind the two Washington statues are the allegorical figures some of which are represented by various Greek gods (for example, Wisdom to the left of Washington is Athena).

Fun fact: the arch was designed pro bono by Stanford White! Next, get a look Inside the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.