Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Capitol Building

Looking back at our fall of 2010 trip to DC with the Carolina Homeschoolers group...

Our group got to tour the capitol building!
Each state of the Union has contributed two statues to the Capitol building. I believe there are 50 of these in the National Statuary Hall - one for each state. The other 50 statues are spread around the building. The statues are chosen by the states to "honor persons notable in their (state) history." Above is Helen Keller, who I find personally very motivating, which was donated by Alabama.

Texas, where we live, has Stephen Austin and Sam Houston on display.

Before becoming the Supreme Court Chamber (1810-18600, this room was the Senate Chamber (1801-1808). Thomas Jefferson took his oath of office in this room in 1801. The infamous Dred Scott decision was delivered here on March 6, 1857. (We've also visited the court house in St Louis where this case started.)

This is the fresco that is painted in 1865 by Constantino Brumidi 180 feet above the rotunda floor. It is entitled "The Apotheosis of Washington." "Apotheosis" means to raise someone to the rank of a god.

Here's a close-up of Washington (center - I flipped the photo) who is indeed god-like. He is flanked by female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. Completing the circle are 13 females representing the original 13 colonies. There is a lot of symbolism in the fresco and you can read more at the Architect of the Capitol website.

This is a portion of a frieze that is underneath the painting "The Apotheosis of Washington" shown above. It is called The Frieze of American History and was originally intended to be done in low relief. It is done, instead, in frecso by three different artists. The paintings resemble sculpture in a monochromatic pallate of whites and browns which is called grisaille. The 19 scenes measure 8 feet 4 inches tall and have various snippets of American history. The four I happened to photograph are the 3rd through 6th scenes: Cortez and Montezuma at Mexican Temple, Pizarro Going to Peru, Burial of DeSoto, and Captain Smith and Pocohontas. You can see all of the images and read more about this frieze at the Architect of the Capitol website.

(image from Wikipedia)

There are many other elements of art within the Capitol Building and even in the rotunda, but I'll leave you with John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence. It is one of 8 large paintings in the Rotunda, and 4 of them were painted by Trumbull.

After our Capitol tour...

1 comment:

lahbluebonnet said...

I visited the capitol before I had the kids, but I still haven't gotten them in. It's quite the drive in then to stand in line. I hope to get it done this summer though.

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