Grand Staircase, Carnegie Museum

Originally the main entrance and still the centerpiece of the vast Carnegie establishment in Oakland, this three-storey open space is decorated with murals by John White Alexander depicting the Apotheosis of Pittsburgh. Most museum visitors ignore them while hurrying on past to the dinosaurs, but the mural group is actually one of the museum’s great artistic treasures. It’s worth spending half an hour in the Grand Staircase picking out the details, like the faces of the damned in the billowing smoke.

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