7. The Merchant of Venice Tympanum, Jefferson Market Library
The Jefferson Market Library was constructed between 1874-1877 as the Third Judicial District Courthouse with an adjoining jail. Its name was derived from the market originally located on the site which was named after Thomas Jefferson in the early 1830s.The tympanum, above the Library’s portal contains a scene from The Merchant of Venice. In a space that would normally depict Jesus in a church, the architect depicted the courtroom scene where Shylock is demanding his pound of flesh. The judge is seated in the center, to his right is Shylock with a pair of scales in one hand and a dagger in the other, and on the left is Portia pointing to the contract.
Check out our previous coverage of the Jefferson Market Library in 15 Former Prisons in NYC and the Library’s Stained Glass Reading Room