Three corridors on the first floor of the U.S. Capitol's House wing are elaborately decorated with wall and ceiling murals.

These corridors complement those in the Brumidi Corridors in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol. The murals and decorations here include historical scenes, portraits and maps related to the development and growth of the United States.

The murals of the Cox Corridors are set within an architectural framework of pilasters and trompe l'oeil classical carvings, and quotations from historical figures are painted above many of the doorways.

The project was authorized by Congress in 1971. Allyn Cox was asked to submit a proposal because of his previous work in the Capitol, which included the completion of the Rotunda frieze in 1953 and the portrait of Henry Clay in the Senate Reception Room in 1959; later, he also painted the mural depicting the moon landing in the north Brumidi Corridor in 1975. He had begun planning murals for the first House corridor in 1969 and later developed a master plan for the other two corridors.

Similar materials and methods were used in the decoration of all three corridors. After thorough surface preparation, canvas was applied to the walls and ceilings. The artists then transferred the designs from full-size cartoons to the canvas by means of pouncing (applying powdered charcoal through perforations in the cartoons). The murals were then executed in oil paint.

Initial approval for the Cox plan was given by the Joint Committee on the Library, the Committee on House Administration, and the Architect of the Capitol. Funds for the project were contributed by the United States Capitol Historical Society, with additional support for the second corridor provided by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Constantino Brumidi, War detail from the Apotheosis of Washington, 1865.

The Art Collection

Apotheosis of Washington

Painted in the true fresco technique by Constantino Brumidi in 1865 in the eye of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

About the Piece