Connecticut State Capitol Statuary Collection
The Connecticut State Capitol was designed with 26 gothic niches for sculpture and 16 tympana (carved scenes above portals). Below the statues are medallion heads or busts. Each facade was to have a specific theme reflecting important events in American and Connecticut history. The north facade is dedicated to the founding fathers of the Connecticut Colony up to the Revolutionary War. It was conceived as the principal entrance to the building. On this side, there are 6 statues, 5 tympana, and two medallions. The statues of the west facade are of individuals who distinguished themselves in the Revolutionary War and governmental service. On the south facade are statues of individuals from the Civil War era onward. The east facade depicts individuals associated with the Revolutionary War and the founding of the Republic. The sculpture on this facade was the first because this side of the building was the first completed. The central tympanum, "The Charter Oak" by Charles Salewski, was the first piece of sculpture created for the Capitol.
Also included on the Capitol grounds are statues on the Capitol lawn and twelve allegorical statues around the Capitol dome.
Pictured at right is "The Genius of CT". This is the plaster model that was used in 1879 to cast a bronze statute that stood atop the dome of the building until 1935 (the year in which is was damaged in a hurricane). Randolph Rogers made the model and the casting was done in Munich Germany. This is no special person or mythological figure but just represents protection for the State, a wreath of mountain laurel (The CT State flower) in her left hand, a wreath of imortalis in her right hand and in her hair a wreath of oak leaves (the white oak is the CT State tree). This model now sits on the first floor of the Capitol.
Pictured at left is a statue of Nathan Hale - historical person from the American Revolution, born in CT, educated at Yale University in New Haven, CT, known for saying when captured as a spy "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale is the CT State Hero. The sculptor is Carl Gerhardt and this statue was made in 1886. Another statue of note is a bronze statue of Civil War-era Governor William Buckingham by sculptor Olin C. Warner in 1884.
The State of Connecticut maintains a web-published photo gallery showing interior and exterior photos of the capitol building.
Our thanks to Carol Hamilton of the offices of the Connecticut General Assembly for providing text and photos for this article.
For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.
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