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

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This painting by Allyn Cox depicts the cornerstone laying ceremony and is currently on display in the House Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building.
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View of the U.S. Capitol Building from above at dusk
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Painted Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
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The Capitol Crypt, which now houses statuary and exhibitions, was once used as an informal storage space where bicycles were parked, seen here circa 1900.
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Peace at the End of the Civil War

Peace at the End of the Civil War
Allyn Cox
Artist

Frieze of American History
Rotunda
U.S. Capitol

Overview 

A Confederate soldier and a Union soldier shake hands, marking the reunion of the country after the devastation of the Civil War. A cotton plant and a northern pine tree symbolize the South and the North, respectively. This is the first of Allyn Cox's three scenes. (1865)

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