Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

Featured

Lying in State of President Gerald Ford in the rotunda.
The Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol has been considered the most suitable place...

Featured

A virtual Map of Capitol Hill from above
View a map of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings and grounds cared for by the...

Featured

Photo of Dome damage and scaffolding.
As scaffolding installation is completed on the Capitol Dome, the restoration...

Featured

AOC Capitol jurisdiction decorative painters create a faux marble fireplace.
Find out how the AOC's painters use tricks of the trade to turn wood into...

What's New

Our Blog

Presidents in Art

Oil painting of a historical scene including several Presidents
Categories: 
Art

Hardly a week goes by in which a visitor touring the Capitol doesn’t ask one of the Visitor Services staff, “Where does the president sleep?” The Capitol is, to be sure, a large, white, monumental structure in Washington, D.C., but it is not the president’s residence. The Capitol and the White House are different buildings, being, respectively, the homes of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

Nevertheless, the nation’s chief executive has had strong ties to the Capitol since 1793, when President George Washington selected the design for the building and laid its first cornerstone. Today, almost half of the nation’s presidents are honored in works of art in the Capitol. Each of the Capitol’s three principal floors has depictions of presidents, ranging from a colossal bust of Lincoln in the first-floor Crypt to busts and portraits on the third floor of the Senate extension.

Not surprisingly, George Washington is the most frequently depicted subject, appearing nearly two dozen times in statues, busts, framed portraits, murals, and even a stained glass window. Nine works represent Abraham Lincoln; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Garfield are among other presidents depicted multiple times. The greatest concentration of presidents is in the Rotunda, where nine statues, two framed history paintings, the canopy fresco, and two scenes in the frescoed frieze depict men who served as president—five of them being George Washington.

Leave a comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.