Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Capital Art** --- Days 9/280 & 281

Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball, Monday Errands  2. Recycling stair trips
Distance: 1. 5 miles, 90 minutes pickle   2. just 1 mile

United States Capital Building Rotunda, Washington, D.C.

So, in her youth, when she worked for a U.S. Congressman, Ciwt would walk down the corridors of the House and Senate Office Buildings and through Statuary Hall and the Rotunda multiple times a day. Maybe giving a tour to visitors or delivering a message or just walking around during her lunch hour.

In all that time, how much of the over 300 pieces of art in the Capitol Building did she notice? It is safe to say virtually none beyond a passing glance at the statues. Such can be the obliviousness of youth or of Ciwt's youth, or the way we travel in and out of offices without paying much attention to the surroundings. And also the fact that Ciwt's art taste at the time was mostly modern (from the Impressionists on at the Phillips Collection) or she thought of the National Gallery as the only real place to look for more traditional art.

Or something. But when she gets back there, she will look up at Constantino Brumidi's* rotunda mural of George Washington ascending to heaven, The Apotheosis of Washington, (1865) : . And she'll walk around until she locates Howard Chadler Christy's painting of the Signing of the Constitution (1940)

And she'll certainly spend some time with the rotunda's Frieze of American History (ca. 1859-1961). Allyn Cox's The Birth of Aviation (1903) looks to her to be especially charming:

Or maybe some of her readers will get there before her and not make young Ciwt's mistake of overlooking the Capitol Building's art.

* Italian born Constantino Brumini emigrated to the U.S. at age 44 during a tumultuous time in Rome. He settled in New York, became a naturalized citizen and must have had some talent for self-promotion along with his clear artistic talent. He visited D.C. during the time the Capitol dome and rotunda were being completed, was introduced to the man in charge of the project and commissioned to paint a mural in the House Agricultural Committee meeting room. It was so favorably received, he was commissioned to decorate many sections of the Capitol and to do his chief work: the dome ceiling and segments of the American History Frieze. The hallways of the Senate are now known as the Brumidi Corridors, and in 2008 the President posthumously awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal.

** See Day 9/283 Ahead

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