Old Senate Chamber designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, this room was home to the U.S. Senate from 1819 until 1859 and later to the U.S. Supreme Court from 1860-1935.
Located north of the Capitol Rotunda is the richly decorated Old Senate...



Painted portrait of Dr. William Thornton
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America’s...


Photo of Dr. Michael Balick, Vice President and Director, Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden
On January 31 at noon, learn about plants used in traditional healing by...

Explore Capitol Hill

American Army Entering the City of Mexico


General Winfield Scott is shown during the Mexican War, entering the capital. Peace came in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which fixed the Mexican-American border at the Rio Grande River and recognized the accession of Texas. The treaty also extended the boundaries of the United States to the Pacific. (1847)

Filippo Costaggini

Frieze of American History
U.S. Capitol

American Army Entering the City of Mexico frieze

The frieze in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol contains a painted panorama depicting significant events in American history. Thomas U. Walter's 1859 cross-section drawing of the new dome (constructed 1855-1863) shows a recessed belt atop the Rotunda walls with relief sculpture. Eventually it was painted in true fresco, a difficult and exacting technique in which the pigments are applied directly onto wet plaster. As the plaster cures the colors become part of the wall. Consequently, each section of plaster must be painted the day it is laid. The frieze is painted in grisaille, a monochrome of whites and browns that resembles sculpture. It measures 8 feet 4 inches in height and approximately 300 feet in circumference. It starts 58 feet above the floor.

The frieze is the work of three artists, Constantino Brumidi, Filippo Costaggini and Allyn Cox. It was designed by Brumidi, an Italian artist who studied in Rome before emigrating to America. Brumidi created a sketch for the Rotunda frieze in 1859 but was not authorized to begin work until 1877.

Last Updated: October 10, 2014