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Discover The Significance Of Gold Leaf On Historic Monuments & Modern Buildings

History is littered with examples of people trying to outdo each other. In relatively recent times, (the 1930s), there was a battle in New York for the tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building ultimately won, although there are plenty of people that see the Chrysler Building as more attractive.

Today, these buildings are comparatively small. However, thanks to their battle, their height, and their use in movies, they remain a lasting legacy.

That’s what humans have been doing for thousands of years, trying to leave a mark.

Of course, in the past, building upward wasn’t such a simple solution. Instead, large and magnificent structures were created. To ensure they stood out and lasted the test of time, many of these buildings had ornate features and utilized gold leaf.

Surprisingly, one of the most famous goldbeaters in Italy is responsible for the gold leaf on many of the most famous buildings across the globe.

The significance of gold leaf

Gold leaf looks fantastic on the top of any structure. It doesn’t lose its lustre and ensures the structure catches your eye.

Of course, large quantities of gold leaf, especially in olden times, could only be acquired by the wealthy. That’s why gold leaf on buildings became associated with wealth, opulence, and success.

However, that’s not the only significance of this amazing material. Historically, gold leaf is associated with the divine, a physical symbol of the spiritual connection between humans and God. That’s why it was, and still is, frequently used on churches, mosques, and other temples across the globe.

Gold leaf is incredibly durable, it lasts for thousands of years without being affected by the elements. As such, it represents constancy. Adding it to any structure helps people to see it as long-lasting. It’s not just the building that is long-lasting, gold leaf imbues the concept contained by the structure and effectively makes it immortal.

That’s why so many buildings and monuments use it. Gold leaf gives someone the chance to be immortal as their work and name will be passed through history.

Some of the most famous gold leaf structures

Once you realize how significant gold leaf can be, you’ll appreciate why it appears on so many structures throughout history. Here are some of the most famous:

Shwedagon Pagoda

This stupa is found in Myanmar and is the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage site. It’s 367 feet high and covered in gold and diamonds. No one knows exactly how much gold!

Brooklyn Public Library, New York

It may not be a pilgrimage site but this magnificent structure with an impressive gold leaf around It may not be a place of pilgrimage, but this magnificent structure whose entrance is covered with gold leaves will remind future generations of the power of books.

Fondazione Prada In Milan, Italy

This ancient building has been revamped and the entire exterior, including gutters and window edgings, has been coated in gold leaf. The building stands out as a symbol as well as being both a modern and ancient work of art.

That’s just a few of the possible buildings, and it’s not just buildings, there are hundreds of monuments across the globe coated in gold leaf:

  • Albert Memorial In Kensington Gardens, London
  • First Division Memorial In President’s Park, Washington

  • The Golden Buddha In Beopjusa, South Korea

  • Golden Lion In Ulan-Ude, Russia

  • Jeanne D’Arc In Paris

  • Les Enfants Fountain In Versailles Palace, France

Summing up

Gold leaf has historical significance and will continue to be an important part of buildings and monuments for the foreseeable future. It’s a powerful reminder to the world that anything is possible, especially when you consider we are just a blip in the passage of time.

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