The United States Capitol: Its Architecture and Decoration (The Classical America Series in Art and Architecture)

Overview

This wonderfully illustrated volume traces the architectural antecedents and building history of the magnificent U.S. Capitol.
The U.S. Capitol, the building that houses the legislative branch of our government and a landmark that attracts 3-5 million visitors each year, has its origins in an architectural competition devised by George Washington. The winning design, submitted by William Thornton, combined "grandeur, simplicity, and convenience." Construction began in August ...
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Overview

This wonderfully illustrated volume traces the architectural antecedents and building history of the magnificent U.S. Capitol.
The U.S. Capitol, the building that houses the legislative branch of our government and a landmark that attracts 3-5 million visitors each year, has its origins in an architectural competition devised by George Washington. The winning design, submitted by William Thornton, combined "grandeur, simplicity, and convenience." Construction began in August 1793, but progress made during the following decade was less than satisfactory. English architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe was brought in by Thomas Jefferson in 1803 to oversee the work, which was finally completed under Charles Bulfinch in 1829. The U.S. Capitol is regarded by many as the finest example of classical architecture in America. This profusely illustrated book offers a detailed description of the building's exterior, its unsurpassed ornamentation, and the richness of its rooms. An illustrated glossary of architectural terms used and a section of brief biographies of persons associated with the Capitol are also provided as tools for the reader.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The founder of the nonprofit Classical America, author of The Golden City and former curator of the New York City parks, Reed is an eminence on classicism as taken up in the U.S. He offers an old school, detail-by-detail look at the Capitol's exterior and room-by-room (including the closed ones) at its interior that will have readers searching for the acanthus leaves on every ancone (or cornice support), and the echinus (or convex molding) on every Doric column on their next visit. Reed covers the major mural work, square-headed versus arched doorframes, the bust of Martin Luther King Jr., the Brumidi frieze, "giant consoles between the secondary attic and the cupola," precursor buildings in Europe and much more in a stately narrative enriched by well-diagrammed illustrations. There are 150 color photos in all, some of which are archival, others of which look stock. (Some of the exterior shots feature foregrounded cars.) The appendix of "Identifications" of architectural details is beautifully done, and the architectural history is clear and straightforward, making this a book for the serious amateur student of the legislative branch's dwelling place. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393038316
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/15/2005
  • Series: Classical America Series in Art and Architecture
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 480,112
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Hope Reed is founder and president of Classical America and is the author of numerous books, including The Golden City and The New York Public Library. He lives in New York City.
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