Capitols' most famous feature is the Rotunda. The Rotunda connects the Senate and House of
Representatives' wings. It has a circular layout with a 96 feet diameter
The interior of the Rotunda is a showcase of America's history. There are eight paintings on the walls. Four of the pictures show revolutionary changes in US history and the other four show scenes of early exploration. The titles of these pictures are as follows:
This is the picture of the Declaration of Independence on the interior wall of the Rotunda. It was painted on the wall on March 4, 1819 by John Trumbull.
This is a picture of the Landing of Columbus also in the Rotunda's interior wall. It was painted by John Vanderlyn on January 15, 1847.
The Rotunda has a magnificent dome over top. In 1855, Congress voted to replace the original dome, which was made of wood and copper, with one of cast iron, which was designed by Thomas U. Walter. The original dome was approximately ninety-five feet tall, but it was raised to about 190 feet. If you placed the Statue of Liberty inside of the new dome, there would still be a couple of feet from the tip of the torch to the top of the dome.
During this time, Constantino Brumidi began to paint the inside of the dome with a beautiful frieze of the Apotheosis of Washington. This frieze is located at the top of the dome, and it shows a picture of George Washington sitting with thirteen women, which represent the original colonies. Also, two women are holding a banner which reads E Pluribus Unum, which is translated roughly into, "Out of Many, One", or many can combine to create one force. In addition, all along the inner rim of the dome are pictures of deities, which all represent a different idea. Here is the list of the deities and what they symbolize.
In 1863, Thomas Crawford added his statue titled Freedom atop of the dome. Freedom is a cast bronze statue that is nineteen feet and six inches tall, and weighs approximately 15,000 lbs. Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword. In her left hand are a wreath of victory and a shield of America with thirteen stripes. On her helmet, there are stars and a crest, which has an eagle head, feathers, and talons. She also has a brooch with US written on it. She stands proud on a cast-iron globe with E Pluribus Unum inscribed on it. The total weight of the entire dome is almost 4,500 tons!
1. Scott, Pamela, Lee, Antoinette J., Society of Architectural Historians: Buildings of the United States: Buildings of the District of Columbia, New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1993