Theodore Clement Steele, American, 1847–1926
Oil on canvas
60.96 cm x 91.44 cm
The focus is the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a 284 ft 6 in (86.72 m) neoclassical monument built on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, IN. The basement of the monument contains the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum (founder of Eli Lilly and Company), and a bronze statue of Oliver P. Morton (Indiana’s Civil War Governor) can be seen on the stone obelisk. The Indianapolis monument is approximately 15 feet (4.6 m) shorter than New York City’s 305-foot (93 m) Statue of Liberty.
T.C. Steele painted portraits of both Colonel Eli Lilly and Governor Oliver P. Morton.
In the background you can see English’s Opera House which opened on September 27, 1880, and quickly became Indianapolis’ leading theater presenting not only opera but drama, musical comedy, ballet, concerts, minstrel shows, lectures, vaudeville and film. Modeled on the New York Grand Opera House, The English seated 2,500 in crimson plush and leather seats and boasted the largest stage in the city, allowing for elaborate stage productions including a spectacular version of Ben-Hur in 1902 that featured a chariot race with eight horses running at full speed on treadmills!