The Capitol Building

| March 7, 2012

The Capitol

The U.S. Capitol is a landmark of neoclassical architecture. Its designs derived from ancient Greece and Rome evoke the ideals that guided the nation’s founders as they framed their new republic. Within the building you will find majestic paintings, sculptures, and other works of fine art that depict various periods in American history. The heart of the Capitol is the Rotunda, a 96-foot-diameter circular hall surmounted by the Capitol’s inner dome. Visible through the eye of the dome, 180 feet above the floor, is a massive fresco painted by Italian artist Constantino Brumidi. This mural, entitled The Apotheosis of George Washington, consists of a portrait of the nation’s first president rising to the heavens flanked by the allegorical figures of Liberty/Authority and Victory/Fame. They are surrounded by maidens representing the first thirteen colonies. Around the perimeter, on the ground below, six groups of figures depict War, Science, Marine, Commerce, Mechanics, and Agriculture; in these scenes mythological gods and goddesses interact with historical figures. Brumidi also designed and started painting the frieze at the top of the Rotunda walls depicting events in American history. (Architect of the Capitol)

Constantino Brumidi, Fresco, 1865, Rotunda (Architect of the Capitol)

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Category: Arts & Culture, Italian Americans

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