Art Quiz: The Answer is Thomas Crawford

I’ll admit to feeling a bit silly when I looked this statue up and realized what it is and where it is. The bronze “Statue of Freedom” stands atop the dome of the US Capitol. I’ve seen pictures of it many times, and maybe I’ve heard the name before. Even so, I wasn’t familiar with Thomas Crawford, the sculptor who created this marvelous work of art.

The work — which was originally known as Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace — was ordered by the Federal Government and completed in 1863. It has also been known as Armed Freedom or simply Freedom, but a US government publication now lists the sculpture’s official name as The Statue of Freedom. It depicts a female figure bearing a military helmet and holding a sheathed sword in her right hand. Her left hand holds a laurel wreath and a shield. It is 19-1/2 feet in height and weighs over 19,000 pounds.

The statue was commissioned in 1855.

Crawford executed the full-size clay model in his studio in Rome. It was then cast in plaster in five major sections. He died suddenly in 1857 before the model left his studio, and his widow shipped the model, packed into six crates, in a small sailing vessel in the spring of 1858. — From: The Statue of Freedom – Architect of the Capitol

In May, 1993, the statue was removed from the dome for restoration work. It was returned in October, 1993. It now undergoes a cleaning every two or three years.

There is a lot of interesting history surrounding the design and completion of the Statue of Freedom, so you might want to visit this link given above to learn more about it. Wikipedia also has an entry for the statue: Statue of Freedom.

You can also read more about the sculptor, Thomas Crawford, and other works he created. Here are a few links:

The Tragedy of Thomas Crawford

The Forgotten Irish American Artist of the Capitol Building

Thomas Crawford – Capitol Sculptor

 

 

 

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