National Geographic : 1952 Aug
161 rumnLIit cuiieLluuu U The Great Dome Was But Air When the Crowd Gathered for Lincoln's First Inaugural Soon the Civil War broke out, but the President kept work going on the Capitol as a symbol of the Union (page 150). Here on March 4, 1861, Thomas Crawford's marble figure of "America" rested on the ground. Later it was raised to a pediment on the Senate wing. these rooms with the traditions of other years. Among them are the old brass cuspidors with a new polish, the Senate's snuffboxes, and bottles of blotting sand (from a pre-blotting paper time) on the Senators' desks. Of all the Capitol's refurbishings, however, one has special significance this year. The recent restoration of some of the many paint ings created by Constantino Brumidi coincides with a revival of interest in this 19th-century Italian artist who fled to America to avoid political persecution (pages 160-161, 164-166, and 183-190). September 18, 1952, will mark the 100th anniversary of Brumidi's sailing into New York Harbor. By coincidence, the month and day were the same as those on which the Capitol cornerstone had been laid in 1793. But it was no accident, when Brumidi began his career of decorating this building a few years after his arrival, that he added to his signature the title, "Citizen of the U. S." He Painted for Freedom Brumidi had acquired U. S. citizenship as soon as possible. Characteristically, he de scribed his future lifework in these words: "My one ambition and my daily prayer is that I may live long enough to make beautiful the Capitol of the one country on earth in which there is liberty." His works in the Capitol far outnumber those of any other single artist. The Brumidi panoramas and portraits, medallions and murals stand out in splashes of vivid color on innumerable ceilings and walls.