While the office of the Presidency was supposed to come with a great deal of prestige, it had far less privilege and entitlement associated with it than the inherited titles of royalty that were, in the early 1800’s, the most common form of government. One word that is used to refer to a particular degree of size is “gigantic.” Small children use this word when they see blimps up close, or skyscrapers, or magical characters in cartoons. Objects (and beings) of such excessive size are beheld at once with wonder and fear, a combination which sometimes is described with the word “awe.” There are several ways in which the concept of the gigantic can engage the senses. As was referenced in the opening anecdote, there is always a sense of comparison that goes on in defining the gigantic – and this sense is always accompanied by a stark sense of contrast between the size of the viewer, and the normal objects with which the viewer is generally familiar, and the size of the object in question. The idea does not have to refer to a static object, of course: the ways in which the genie Aladdin assumes such gigantic proportions in the popular Disney movie has much more to do with the swirling, undulating motions that the genie makes, than with the actual size that the genie ends up having. It can have to do with the scope of a story, not just the size of a particular painting’s frame. When it comes to architecture, the idea of the gigantic goes back almost as far as recorded human history itself. The Old Testament refers.
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In the research paper “Representations of Gigantism in Art and Architecture” the author shares his impressions that one gets of a building, or a painting, or a sculpture, because our visual sense is generally the one that works over the greatest distances. …
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