In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

Art and Allegory: The Collection Grows

The Capitol continued its longstanding tradition of commissioning and buying artwork. The most significant addition was The Apotheosis of Democracy, a monumental sculptural group by Paul Wayland Bartlett placed in the House pediment in 1916.

To celebrate the Constitution’s 150th anniversary, Congress commissioned Howard Chandler Christy to paint a scene depicting the signing of the document. It was hung in the east grand stair of the House wing. The House of Representatives continued to acquire portraits of former Speakers, and the Senate commissioned vice presidential busts for its chamber. As the collection of state-donated statues in Statuary Hall grew to 65, its weight threatened to collapse the floor. In 1933, Congress authorized the display of some statues elsewhere in the building, distributing the collection—and its weight.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1913-1945

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Joseph G. Cannon, by William T....
Image Caption

Joseph G. Cannon, by William T. Smedley, 1912

The House of Representatives purchased this portrait of its former Speaker in 1917.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Joseph G. Cannon, by William T. Smedley, 1912

The House of Representatives purchased this portrait of its former Speaker in 1917.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

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