Art and Architecture of the U.S. Capitol Building

By Linda Peck, CRRL Staff

From Central Rappahannock Regional Library

AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C. by Gerard Martin Moeller.
"This edition includes notable new structures such as the National Museum of the American Indian, as well as the classics that epitomize the city - the White House, the Capitol, Union Station - plus a number of private structures that are sometimes overlooked, including houses designed by Walter Gropius and Richard Neutra."

The Apotheosis of Democracy, 1908-1916: The Pediment for the House Wing of the United States Capitol by Thomas P. Somma.
"Unveiled just eight months prior to U.S. entry into World war I, the pediment also represents one of the most visible public expressions of the ideals of the late American Renaissance (1876-1917)."

Classical Architecture and Monuments of Washington, D.C. - A History and Guide by Michael Curtis.
"The soaring Washington Monument, the columns of the Lincoln Memorial and the spectacular dome of the Capitol Building speak to the founders' comprehensive vision of our federal city. Learn about the L'Enfant and McMillan plans for Washington, D.C., and how those designs are reflected in two hundred years of monuments, museums and representative government."

Constantino Brumidi: Artist of the Capitol by Barbara A. Wolanin.
Provides a three-dimensional picture of the artist Brumidi and a fuller appreciation of Brumidi's work via the conservation effort.

Jefferson and the Arts: An Extended View by William Howard Adams.
Discusses the architecture and planning of the capital in the chapter entitled "Thomas Jefferson and the Planning of the National Capital," by Paul F. Norton.

Picturing History: American Painting, 1770-1930 by William Ayres.
Contains a chapter discussing the eight large paintings in the Capitol's Rotunda.

Working in Olmsted's Shadow: Guidance for Developing A Scope of Services for the Update of the Master Plan for the U.S. Capitol and Grounds.
"The Architect of the Capitol is charged with the operation and maintenance of the United States Capitol Complex, which is still governed by provisions of the L'Enfant Plan of 1792 and the McMillan Commission Plan of 1901 as well as legislation that has been enacted from time to time."

Web Sites

Architect of the Capitol
Originally designed to house the United States Congress, the neoclassical design has been maintained during the building's modifications. Links to the various areas of the Capitol with descriptions. You can also book a tour through this site and explore the many aspects of the Capitol's architectural history.

Works of Art in the Capitol Complex
The Capitol Complex art reflects the development of the United States and Congress. Links to the artwork with descriptions and edifying blog posts.

This webliography accompanied the Lunch With History lecture "Art & Architecture of the United States Capitol Building," presented by Thomas Somma, Director, Mary Washington College Galleries, on June 18, 2003.