Sunday, October 26, 2014

Artwork on the side of the Fulton County Department of Health building, Atlanta, Georgia.

According to the Downtown Atlanta Contemporary Historic Resources Survey, this sculpture dates to 1961. The artist is unknown. The artwork depicts Death being stopped by the Greek god Apollo (god of healing). The artwork contains a major error: Apollo is wielding a caduceus. The caduceus (a winged staff entwined by two snakes) is a herald's staff, and is the symbol of Hermes/Mercury. But the staff of healing is the rod of Asclepius, with is a single snake entwined around a non-winged staff. The confusion arises because the U.S. Army Medical Corps mistakenly adopted the caduceus as its symbol in 1902.

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