A Creative Showcase

Expansion provided additional space that offered a showcase for American creativity. Sculptors filled porticoes with statues, and designed elaborate stair rails and bronze doors. They also turned their talents to commonplace features, such as door pulls. Painters covered walls and ceilings with murals, drawing on both ancient and American subjects for inspiration.

Artists from Italy, France, Germany, England, and the United States crafted decorations. The work of Thomas Crawford, the most celebrated of the sculptors employed, can be seen in the Senate pediment and the Statue of Freedom atop the dome. The Capitol’s leading artist, the painter Constantino Brumidi, created vibrant frescoes for rooms and corridors. His greatest work, The Apotheosis of Washington, graces the canopy over the inner dome.

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Capitol 1851-1877

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Liberty, by Constantino Brumidi,...
Image Caption

Liberty, by Constantino Brumidi, ca. 1860

This allegorical figure is part of the ceiling decorations in the President’s Room.

Architect of the Capitol

Liberty, by Constantino Brumidi, ca. 1860

This allegorical figure is part of the ceiling decorations in the President’s Room.

Architect of the Capitol

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