What is marble?
Marble is formed when limestone is exposed to extreme pressure and heat underneath the surface of the earth or oceans for long periods of time. Quarried in mountainous regions of many countries, Italy is one of the biggest suppliers of marble. This natural stone is available in a wide range of colors. The various colors come from mineral impurities from the area. Thus, different regions and countries produce different colors of this beautiful, natural stone.
Historically, marble has been used in Greece and Italy
The use of this natural stone has always been a symbol of wealth, status, and the most refined taste. Many iconic structures representing notable periods of human achievement have been constructed with marble. These structures have contributed to its desirability.
The ancient Egyptians used this natural stone occasionally for sculpture as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries B.C. However, the ancient Greeks were the first to make extensive use of the material, as it was available to them in abundance. The ancient Greeks perfected the tools and techniques used for working marble. By the 7th century B.C., sculptures and later temples, were being constructed with the natural stone. The most well-known of these buildings is the Parthenon, a temple completed in 438 B.C. to honor the goddess of wisdom, Athena.
Later, this natural stone was the material of choice for the ancient Romans, who based much of their architecture and art on Greek culture. This natural stone is plentiful in Italy, and the Romans valued it for its beauty. The Romans developed a building technique that constructed the outside of the building with bricks and mortar and used marble slabs to line walls and floors inside. This technique was much faster and enabled them to use this stone as a building material extensively throughout the empire. The most exquisite example of Roman architecture, the Pantheon, contains a large amount of marble used in this way.
Part of the reason this natural stone was so popular for sculpture was its ability to be worked in great detail. The translucency that gave sculptures their lifelike appearance also contributed to its popularity during the naturalism movement at this time. Michelangelo was well known for his work in marble, most notably the statue of David, one of the most revered works in all of history.
Marble has also been used in Mexico and India
The use of this natural stone was not restricted to Europe. The Templo Mayor in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, on the site of current day Mexico City, also has evidence of this natural stone. Construction on the temple was originally started soon after 1325. Built over seven times, the temple was destroyed by Spaniards in 1521. Excavations have uncovered marble masks, statues, floors, and other ornamentation.
In 1653, construction was completed on the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal is actually a complex of several buildings. The most well-known building being the mausoleum with the white marble dome. The Taj Mahal was built under Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb memorial for his third wife. Emperor Shah Jahan encouraged the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones in buildings constructed during his reign. In the mausoleum, white marble is used as exterior facing and masonry. White marble is also used throughout the interior for inlays and other decorative touches.
Modern examples of this natural stone
The Lincoln Memorial was constructed between 1913 and 1922 in Washington, D.C. This memorial commemorates the life and accomplishments of the 16th president. The design was based on the Parthenon of ancient Greece. Since ancient Greece was the birthplace of democracy, its artistic influence seemed the most appropriate to honor Lincoln. The statue itself is sculpted from this natural stone. Additionally, the outside façade, columns, upper steps, ceiling tiles, and floors are also made of marble from various places in the U.S.
The 68-story Trump Tower in New York makes extensive use of an Italian pinkish-peach colored marble. Built by multi-billionaire Donald Trump, this multiple use skyscraper exemplifies the extravagance Trump is known for.
You can have the beauty and distinction of marble floors in your home. Let Gowdy Flooring help you get the look you want with quality installation. Call us today at (806) 353-6226 if you’d like more information, or send us an email on Contact Us. Come see our showroom located at 5205 S. Coulter St. in Amarillo, Texas.