CAPITOL DOME AND FRESCO, WASHINGTON, D.C.: True story… Several years ago, while in Rome, Italy, I was standing near St. Peter’s Square late in the evening. An American couple and their two children pulled up in a taxi and got out. They approached me, nodding to the dome, asking me if “that” (St. Peter’s Basilica) was the American embassy. First time outside of America, I’d guess.
The Capitol building dome in Washington does, of course, resemble the great Roman basilica. It has inspired countless other domes across the world. Washington D.C.’s Capitol dome is made of cast iron and weighs 8,909,200 lbs. The interior of the dome, as seen from the floor in these two photos, features a fresco painted by an Italian called Constantino Brumidi in 1865. The painting is called The Apotheosis of Washington. The painting depicts George Washington becoming a god (apotheosis) during America’s revolutionary war. Washington is draped in the royal colour purple. Forming a circle are 13 maidens, each with a star above her head, to represent the 13 original American colonies. And, above Washington’s head, is the banner E Pluribus Unum which means “out of many, one.”
Photos by John Ecker | pantheon photography
Top photo: Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikon AFS 10-24mm lens at 10mm,1/60 sec., f5, ISO 640
Botton photo: Shot handheld with a Nikon D40X, Nikon AFS 18-200 lens at 170mm, 1/40 sec, f7.1, ISO 800