US_Capitol

The United States Capitol Building on Capitol Hill at the end of the National Mall,
including detail images of the Capitol Dome and the Senate portico pediment.

While some of the images are displayed with Title Bars, the available images
from Washington DC were prepared without Title Bars (available upon request).

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The United States Capitol Building        The National Mall

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CapitolBuilding_2658


Capitol Building 2658

The United States Capitol Building from the northwest, with the Senate on the left.

Since the cornerstone was laid in 1793 by George Washington, the Capitol has been rebuilt or
expanded numerous times, the latest being the addition of over 100 rooms between 1959-60.

The Senate wing is on the north, the south wing houses the
House of Representatives, and in the center is the Capitol Dome.

Designed in a 19th Century Neoclassical style, the building contains design elements from several
European churches and other notable buildings, especially the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Below, a comparison of St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s and the Capitol Dome.

StPeters_StPauls_US_Capitol_Domes


St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s and US Capitol Domes

Thomas Walter’s Capitol Dome drew inspiration from the tholus atop Michelangelo’s Dome, St. Peter’s
Basilica and Christopher Wren’s peristyle and windows at the base of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Christopher Wren also drew inspiration from Michelangelo’s design of the dome for St. Peter’s Basilica.
The columned peristyle (lower section of the two-story drum) was also derived from the Pantheon of Paris.

CapitolBuilding_2659


Capitol Building 2659

The United States Capitol Building from the northwest. The result of a design competition in the 1790’s,
the original Capitol Building was designed by physician, inventor and amateur architect William Thornton,
who was later appointed to be the first Superintendent of the Patent Office by President Thomas Jefferson.
The original building was constructed between 1793 and 1811 (it was first used by Congress in Nov. 1800).

CapitolDome_2687


Capitol Building 2687

CapitolDome_2688


Capitol Building 2688

The United States Capitol Dome, the creamy soft look caused by the diffuse light of a partially overcast day.

The original bell-shaped timber-framed dome was built by Charles Bulfinch, the third Architect of the Capitol,
who built the first dome in the United States, which he designed for the Massachusetts Statehouse in 1787.
Bulfinch built a dome in two-sections: a 96 foot stone interior dome and a 140 foot wooden exterior dome,
with a 24 foot wide oculus in the external dome providing illumination for the rotunda below the dome. The
exterior dome was sheathed in copper. It was completed in 1823 and remained until the 1850s, when it
was deemed aesthetically displeasing due to the extension of the north and south wings of the building.

In 1855, the current Architect of the Capitol (Thomas Walter) lobbied Congress to approve construction
of a new, larger dome. The new dome was to be made of cast iron, and the fireproof nature of this dome
along with the aesthetics were instrumental in the decision by Congress to fund the construction. Walter
derived his design from the Pantheon of Paris, St. Paul’s in London, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

CapitolDome_2690


Capitol Building 2690

CapitolDome_2701


Capitol Building 2701

The interior dome rises to the top of the second story of the exterior drum supporting the exterior dome.
Above the interior dome oculus is the 1865 fresco Apotheosis of Washington by Constantino Brumidi.

Nearly 9 million pounds of iron were used in the construction of the dome, crowned by the Statue of Freedom
 (Thomas Crawford), a 19.5 foot bronze statue of a female allegorical figure holding the hilt of a sheathed sword
in the right hand and a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States in her left hand. She wears a
military helmet adorned with stars and an eagle’s head, crowned with a crest of feathers. Crawford designed
the statue and built a plaster model in 1854 from ideas by Jefferson Davis (later the Confederate President).
Crawford’s original statue was crowned with a Liberty Cap (Phrygian Cap), which Davis had replaced with
the military helmet due to the Phrygian Cap being mistakenly associated with the Roman pileus, the cap of
the freed slave. The Statue of Freedom stands at the top of the lantern (tholus) on a cast iron globe which
is encircled by the national motto e pluribus unum (out of many, one), which stands on a tapered base.

Statue_ofFreedom_CapitolDome_M


Statue of Freedom Capitol Dome M

Thomas Crawford died in 1857 before the full-sized plaster model left his studio in Italy. The model was
shipped in a small sailing vessel in 1858, which promptly sprung a leak and stopped in Gibraltar for repairs.
On its way across the Atlantic, it began leaking again, and barely made it to Bermuda where it had to stop.
The six crates had to be sent on in two other ships, and finally arrived in December 1858 and March 1859.

The statue was cast in five sections by Clark Mills, whose foundry was on the outskirts of Washington.
The casting was interrupted by the onset of the Civil War in 1861, but by late 1862 the statue was on
display on the Capitol grounds. In late 1863, the dome construction was nearing completion and the
statue was raised in sections and assembled atop the cast-iron pedestal, completed in December.

After being in place for 130 years, the statue was taken down by helicopter and restored in 1993.

CapitolDome_atNight_2881M


Capitol Dome at Night 2881 M

A 1000 x 1590 image of the United States Capitol Dome, illuminated at night.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
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Direct Links:

United States Capitol Building      National Mall Memorials

Assorted Washington DC

Smithsonian Institution             Arlington National Cemetery

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Senate_CapitolDome_2602


Senate Capitol Dome 2602

The United States Capitol Dome and the Senate Wing from the northeast.

CapitolDome_5182


Capitol Dome 5182

The United States Capitol Dome from the northeast, rising above a sea of Morning Glories.

CapitolDome_5411_16x9


Capitol Dome 5411 16x9

The United States Capitol Dome, the Senate Fountain and Upper Senate Park from the north.

CapitolDome_BloomingMyrtle_5387_16x9


Capitol Dome Blooming Myrtle 5387 16x9

The Capitol Dome framed with blooming Crape Myrtle from the northwest.

CapitolDome_5399M


Capitol Dome 5399 M

A 1000 x 1590 image of the Capitol Dome rising above foliage in Upper Senate Park.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Washington DC Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Links:

United States Capitol Building      National Mall Memorials

Assorted Washington DC

Smithsonian Institution             Arlington National Cemetery

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CapitolDome_5238


Capitol Dome 5238

The Capitol Dome and the Statue of Freedom.

Senate_CapitolDome_5190


Senate Capitol Dome 5190

The Capitol Dome rising above the Senate Portico.

Senate_CapitolDome_2608


Senate Capitol Dome 2608

Senate_CapitolDome_2627


Senate Capitol Dome 2627

The Senate Portico and Capitol Dome from the northeast on an overcast day.

Senate_CapitolDome_5168


Senate Capitol Dome 5168

The Senate Portico and Capitol Dome from the northeast on an clear day.

House_CapitolDome_5239


House Capitol Dome 5239

The House of Representatives portico and pediment and the Capitol Dome from the southeast.
In the pediment over the House portico is the Apotheosis of Democracy by Paul Wayland Bartlett.
The Georgia marble sculptures were carved by the Piccirilli Brothers from Bartlett’s plaster models.

Senate_CapitolDome_5180


Senate Capitol Dome 5180

Senate_CapitolDome_5184


Senate Capitol Dome 5184

The Senate portico and Capitol Dome from the northeast. The east side is the front of the Capitol building.

Senate_Portico_Pediment_5194_16x9


Senate Portico Pediment 5194 16x9

The Senate portico with the Progress of Civilization pediment by Thomas Crawford from the east.

The sculptures in the Senate portico pediment are the Progress of Civilization by Thomas Crawford.
Designed in his Rome studio in 1854 and carved in marble at the Capitol (1855-59), the central figure
represents America, an eagle at her side and the rising sun at her feet. On her right is a woodsman, a
hunter, an Indian Chief, an Indian mother and child, and an Indian grave representing the early days of
America. Left are a soldier, merchant, two youths, schoolmaster and child, a mechanic and an anchor.

Senate_Portico_Pediment_5199


Senate Portico Pediment 5199

The Senate Portico and pediment, with 16 Corinthian columns with acanthus capitals, and
Thomas Crawford’s Progress of Civilization extending 60 feet within the 80 foot pediment.
Crawford finished his full-size models in 1854, and the sculptures were installed in 1863.

Senate_Portico_Pediment_detail_LG


Senate Portico Pediment detail LG

A detail image (2000 x 1047) of Thomas Crawford’s Progress of Civilization in the Senate portico pediment.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Washington DC Collection where a Gallery can be selected.

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Direct Links:

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Assorted Washington DC

Smithsonian Institution             Arlington National Cemetery

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