Featured

The painting General George Washington Resigning His Commission by John Trumbull
The painting General George Washington Resigning His Commission by John...

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

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

Featured

Instagrammers in the Olmsted Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds
Early on this beautiful September morning, a group of Instagrammers came...

Explore Capitol Hill

Progress of Civilization Pediment

Overview 

The sculptural pediment over the Senate entrance on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol is called Progress of Civilization. The entire pediment is 80 feet long, its height at the center is approximately 12 feet, and the length of the sculpture is approximately 60 feet.

Thomas Crawford
Artist

Marble
1863

Pediment over the east entrance to the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol

The sculptural pediment over the Senate entrance on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol is called Progress of Civilization.

The center figure is America, who stands with an eagle at her side and the sun at her back. On the right, a woodsman, hunter, Indian chief, Indian mother and child, and Indian grave represent the early days of America. On the left the diversity of human endeavor is suggested by the soldier, the merchant, the two youths, the schoolmaster and child, and the mechanic. Completing this side of the tympanum are sheaves of wheat, symbolic of fertility, and an anchor, symbolic of hope; these elements are in contrast with the grave at the opposite end of the tympanum.

The figures were designed by American sculptor Thomas Crawford in Rome, Italy, in 1854. They were carved at the Capitol in 1855-1859 from Lee, Massachusetts, marble and erected in 1863.

The sculptor, Thomas Crawford (1814-1857), also created the Statue of Freedom atop the dome, the designs of bronze Senate and House doors, and the figures of Justice and History above the Senate bronze doors.

Last Updated: September 25, 2014