Fine Hand-Colored Lithograph of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Showing Thomas Ustick Walter's Newly Completed Dome
A fine hand-colored lithograph of the United States Capitol, published in 1866 and lithographed by Charles Hart of New York City. The view shows the then freshly completed dome designed by Thomas Ustick Walter, constructed from 1856-1866, mostly during the Civil War. On top of the iconic dome can be seen the Statue of Freedom, a classical female representation wearing a helmet incorporating an eagle's head and feathers. While the last section of the Statue of Freedom was put in place on December 2, 1863, amid great celebration during the Civil War, the interior of the dome was not completed until January 1866, when the scaffolding below Constantino Brumidi's fresco, the Apotheosis of Washington, was finally removed.
The hand coloring on this lithograph print is nice and mellow, especially the autumnal bluish greens and orangish browns of the trees, as well as the green of the surrounding foliage and foregrounded lawn. Subtle coloring also highlights the horizontal lines of the Capitol building itself (including on the new dome). The two United States flags flying above the building's wings, both nicely colored, help emphasize the symmetry of the Capitol's neoclassical architecture. Several figures promenade in front of the building, including women and children. A man is shown with left arm aloft pointing with admiration and pride toward the Capitol as his female companion looks on.
An evocative American scene, displaying the iconic Capitol majestically enhanced with its brand new dome, a kind of restorative and unifying symbol for the entire country at the end of the devastating Civil War.