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

Featured

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...

Featured

A crowd of people visiting the Capitol during visitor hours
Visitor Hours for the Buildings on Capitol Hill.

Featured

Yellow flowers in front of the Capitol Building
The Architect of the Capitol annually publishes a wide variety of publications...

Featured

Susan Dworkin photo.
Learn about climate change and staple foods at noon on October 24 at the U.S...

Naval Gun Crew in the Spanish-American War

Naval Gun Crew in the Spanish-American War
Allyn Cox
Artist

Frieze of American History
Rotunda
U.S. Capitol

Overview 

A gun crew prepares to fire a Naval gun in one of the two great naval battles of the Spanish-American War. In the course of helping Cuba win independence from Spain the United States became prominent in world affairs by acquiring a colonial empire (Puerto Rico and Guam) and establishing naval prominence in both oceans. (1898)

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: September 30, 2013