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A Cascade of Books by Frank Eliscu (1912–1996) is a bronze sculptural screen that rises five stories above the main entrance to the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress. Measuring approximately 50 feet high by 35 feet wide, it consists of 98 open books, with some as large as five feet wide.
A Cascade of Books by Frank Eliscu (1912–1996) is a bronze sculptural screen...

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Snapshot of a crowd of people on a guided tour through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol
Official Tours of the U.S. Capitol Building are offered Monday through...

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An AOC worker mowing the grass on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol
The roles and responsibilities of the Architect of the Capitol cover an...

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AOC working cleaning the National Garden
The National Garden is a treasure for everyone.

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Presidents in Art

Oil painting of a historical scene including several Presidents
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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.

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