WPT University Place: Art of the Capitol: A Beaux Arts Masterpiece


– Today we are pleased to
introduce Daniel Stephens as part of the Wisconsin
Historical Museum’sHistory Sandwiched In
lecture series. The opinions expressed today are
those of the presenter and are not necessarily those of the
Wisconsin Historical Society or the museum’s employees. As a 1971 graduate
of Iowa State, Daniel Stephens was
first licensed as an
architect in 1975. In 1990, Dan joined
the state of Wisconsin to work on the renovation and
restoration of the Capitol. After 25 years of state service he retired as DOA’s historic
preservation officer and the state of Wisconsin’s
chief state architect. Dan has served on numerous
preservation boards, including the Madison
Landmarks Commission and the Taliesin Preservation’s
Board of Trustees. In his free time, Dan enjoys
taking long motorcycle rides across the country and has
ridden nearly 3 million miles. Here today to discuss the art of
the Wisconsin State Capitol, please join me in
welcoming Dan Stephens. [applause] – Thank you. We’re going to be flying high
at 30,000 feet and very fast. Most of the architect, most of
the artists that worked on the Capitol had worked with the
architect of the Capitol, George Post, before they
came here to Wisconsin. They also knew him through
social connections, especially at the Sentry
Association of New York City, which was a rather
exclusive men’s club. There are nine artists that
worked on the Capitol here, and they were George
Post’s New York team. Construction of the Capitol
was completed in 1917. Renovation and restoration of
the building took place and was completed in 2001
and brought the building into the 21st century, gave
us another hundred years in that building, at least. The architectural grandeur and
the artistry of the previous era was preserved and restored. After the restoration was
done in January 2001, the Capitol was designated as a
National Historic Landmark. Beaux architecture. In the 19th century in America, there were no architectural
schools in America. America’s architects
were educated as structural or
civil engineers, some of them as surveyors,
like Thomas Jefferson. Few of this nation’s architects
managed to be educated at École des Beaux-Arts
in Paris. The style of architecture taught
at the school of fine arts in Paris was a neoclassical
style of architecture, and that became known as
Beaux-Art architecture. The style of instruction that
produced Beaux-Art architecture continued without interruption
until about 1968. The artwork completes
the Capitol. The symbolism of the fine art
establishes principle themes and impart meaning to
the building as a whole. The building, with its art,
embodies the ideals of civic pride, democratic duty, and the
functions of good government. Many of the pieces of
sculpture, the mosaics, and the murals are
thoroughly integrated in the architecture
of the building. They could stand alone as art, but they are
building components. The nine artists of the Capitol,
those whose art is an integral part of the building,
will later be identified with a color side bar, and
that’s to differentiate them from four artists that I have
also included who have statues in the building and
on the grounds. They were not part of
Post’s Beaux-Art team, but their art is in the Capitol
and on the Capitol grounds and merit comment today. George Post was probably
one of the most famous architects of his day. He graduated as a civil engineer
from New York University and then studied architecture in the
office of Richard Morris Hunt, probably the very best-
known architect in his day. Hunt was educated at the
École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After military service
in the Civil War, Post opened his architectural
firm in New York City, and two of his sons
later joined the firm. Architect Daniel Burnham was the
director of works at the Chicago Worlds Columbian Exhibition
in 1893, and Post, selected by Burnham, set
the architectural style for the great White City. Post designed the Manufactures
and Liberal Arts building, which was called the largest
structure on Earth. It enclosed
thirty-and-a-half acres. In 1906, the Capitol
Commission held a competition to design a new building. There was a fire in ’04 that took the second
Madison Capitol out. Architect Daniel Burnham of
Chicago judged the design competition, and George Post
& Sons of New York was given the contract. George Post would not live to
see the Capitol completed. His son, James, became
the project architect after George died in 1913. James got a diploma from the
École des Beaux-Arts after he graduated from Columbia in 1896. This is a little closer image of
Post’s competition rendering. And you can see the
original in the south wing in the third floor
cross-corridor. It was found in Post’s
family garage in New York, and the Post family gave it to
the state of Wisconsin. So it’s on display
for you to see. Three things changed from the
proposal to what was built. And one of them is Post
illuminated a statuary niche on the end of each wing end and
built a plain granite wall. And the other was Post had
proposed little towers, which are called tourelles, and
Dan Burnham thought that those were too large and detracted
from the main dome. So Post agreed and we
got statuary groups in those locations. Based on, the third item,
based on the 1906 competition rendering, Post envisioned a
much larger sculptural program for the exterior of the Capitol
than was put into place. And there were exterior statues
in bronze and granite proposed by Daniel Chester French that
were never commissioned. Karl Bitter was an
Austrian-born American sculptor who was born and
trained in Vienna. He was drafted in
the Austrian army. He deserted while on leave and
immigrated to the United States. In 1889, he arrived
in New York City. He was discovered by
Richard Morris Hunt and was never out of work. He was responsible for the
entrances on Post’s Manufactures and Liberal Arts building in
the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. He did some relief sculpture
for those entrances. He gave us the four statuary
groups, the east pediment, and the west pediment. The four statuary groups
symbolized fundamental characteristics of the
state and its people. Each of the four
groups of statuary consist of three figures. The major figure in each
case is placed in the center and is raised on a base. These stand about 12-foot high,
and the two minor figures are seated and they’re
about six-foot high. They support whatever it is that
the major figure represents, and we’ll go through those. The two minor figures are
connected by an eagle with outspread wings. This device, which provides
structural stability to the group, is common to
each of the four groups. On approaching from Monona
Avenue, you see faith. Each head is bowed in obedience
to divine and civil law. The northwest group represents
prosperity and abundance and is composed
of female figures. The center one is standing by
a vase which is overflowing with fruit, and each of the
others has a cornucopia, which is a symbol of plenty. Group overlooking West Wash
represents strength. The center figure holds a
short sword and a shield, and the other figures,
one of the other figures is represented as being blind. And that’s to represent the idea
that physical strength alone isn’t enough, but when
directed by knowledge, the value of physical
strength is increased. Northeast group
represents knowledge. The central figure is
contemplating a globe, which represents the Earth. The other two figures are
studying open books and scrolls, studying history to see
what was done in the past. The east wing has the
office of the governor and the Supreme Court, and law
is the subject of the pediment over the entrance
of the east wing. The central figure of
the group, Liberty, is holding a torch in her right
hand to enlighten justice and in her left she has a
shield protecting truth. Both Justice and
Truth are seated, and the former holds the scales
and the latter a mirror, symbols of justice and truth. The west wing houses
the Assembly. Here Bitter symbolizes the
resources of the state. The horse, ox, sheep, the
other animals represent the opportunities Wisconsin offers
for stock in dairy industries. Agricultural interests are
shown by the growing wheat through which the
animals are being led and by the corn being harvested. Forest products are seen in the
lumber being carried by another figure as well as walls forming
part of the background. There’s a badger on
your extreme right, and that’s the emblem
of the state. The west wing was supposed
to be the first wing done, and that was by the law. And it was not able
to be completed, the pediment was not
able to be completed because of some
grading problems. So the west wing was
going ahead of it. And I said that wrong. The west wing was supposed
to be done first. The east wing pediment
got done first. When they were working
on the west wing, in the east wing
pediment the stones were carved in the pediment. The stones were placed in the
west pediment to be carved. Those stones, on October 24,
1909, 300 tons of stone fell, killing Daniel Logan,
which was one of the setters. He was a foreman. Logan and another setter were
placing a four-ton stone when they set it on a stone
that had already been set. It cracked and fell 80 feet, taking with it most
of the other stones. As a result of that accident,
the stones for the pediments of the north, west, and south were
shaped and cut on the ground and then hoisted in place later. Adolph Weinman was a
sculptor born in Germany. He studied at the Art
Students League in New York with sculptors including
Augustus Saint-Gaudens. He later served as an
assistant to famous sculptors, including Daniel Chester French. Weinman opened his
own studio in 1904. Weinman designed
the Mercury dime and the Walking
Liberty half dollar. Both of those he
designed in 1916, and they were produced
up into the mid-’40s. And they have been
replicated as, repeated in replications
over the years. In 1916 I think they both had
a commemorative issue in gold. Weinman gave us the
south pediment. In 1905, Richard Lloyd Jones,
that would be Frank Lloyd Wright’s cousin, purchased the
farm where Lincoln was born. He commissioned Weinman to do
a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Many of the contributors
financed that statue, including President Lincoln’s
only surviving son Robert. A replica of Weinman’s Lincoln
statue was unveiled in the middle of Bascom Hill between
North and South Halls in 1909. That was 100 years after
Lincoln’s birth. Bascom Hill’s Lincoln was
moved to its current location after 10 years of standing as “like a mushroom
sticking out of the sod.” [laughter] That was according to a 1917On Wisconsin
magazine article. Weinman chose for the
pediment on the south wing, which houses the Senate,
powers that should be found in the upper house
of the legislature. The center figure in the
group symbolizes wisdom. Thought and reflection are
attributes of wisdom and Weinman represents thought by a
winged skull in the left hand of Wisdom and a
mirror in her right. The nose of the central
figure was lost to time, the devourer of all things. Her missing nose was restored
during the restoration project, and if you look closely, you can see the crack
where it was restored. We had excellent stone carvers
and cutters who did excellent work in the restoration
that was necessary. Attilio Piccirilli was an
American sculptor and stone cutter who was born in Italy
and educated in Rome. Piccirilli came to the
United States in 1888 and worked as a sculptor
and a stone carver. As he gained fame, he became
invaluable to the sculptors of America because
before his family came the sculptors of America had
to send their stuff to Italy to get it carved into stone. We did not have stone carvers. Piccirilli’s most famous work is
a creation of the Lincoln statue at Lincoln Memorial in
Washington, DC. That was originally designed
by Daniel Chester French. Piccirilli gave us
the north pediment. The north pediment, known as,
called Learning the World, is a grouping of
figures representing the attributes of civilization. The central figure represents
enlightenment providing wisdom. The female figure leaning on a
rake symbolizes agriculture. The mother and child symbolize
maternity, the home or family, which is a foundation of society
and the strength of a nation. Enlightenment, the
central figure, is holding a tablet
upon which is written the inscription “sapientiae.” That’s Latin for wisdom. The next four works of
art are by those who are not part of the
original Post team. They are art that’s in the
building and on the grounds but not part of the
original design. On October 17, 1926, the
statue of Hans Christian Heg was unveiled at the King Street
corner of the Capitol Square commemorating the most
noted Norwegian American to serve in the Civil War. He died in Chickamauga
September 19, 1863. Jean Miner, a Wisconsin
sculptor born in Menasha. She grew up in Madison. She completed “Forward” at the
Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. “Forward” symbolizes
devotion and progress. In 1895, the statue was placed
at the east entrance of the second
Capitol in Madison. In 1916, the state rededicated
“Forward” and moved it to the entrance at Capitol Square at
the end of Hamilton Street, where it stayed until 1995. The bronze had suffered a
hundred years of outdoor exposure, and the prognosis for
preservation of statue outdoors was not favorable. In 1893, women in
Wisconsin raised the funds for the creation of “Forward.” A hundred years later,
Wisconsin women provided the means to
preserve the statue. A replica was made, which is
now on the State Street, the west entrance
to Capitol Square at the end of State Street. And the original was
conserved and placed in the Historical Society
headquarters building. Jean Miner continued to create
sculpture until about a week before her death in 1967
at 101 years old. Helen Mears, a
Wisconsin sculptor, was born and raised in Oshkosh. By her late teens Mears’
work caught the attention of New York sculptor
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and she studied and
worked with him. In 1892, Mires won a commission for the 1893 Columbian
Exhibition in Chicago. She executed the statue
“Genius of Wisconsin” in clay for the exhibition. After the Columbian Exhibition,
the statue was carved in marble by the Piccirilli
brothers of New York and displayed in the rotunda
of the second Madison Capitol where it survived
a fire in 1904. It was moved to the first
completed wing of the new Capitol, the west wing, and then
placed in the first floor southeast round room as soon
as that room was completed. And that’s where you
can see her today is in the first floor
southeast round room. That’s the “Genius
of Wisconsin.” In 1899, Mears opened
her studio in New York, and she completed a
nine-foot marble statue that is in the statuary hall
in the United States Capitol. In December 1910, Mears was
given a contract to create a statue to be placed on top
of the Wisconsin Capitol. She began designing models,
and her models were severely criticized by the
Capitol Commission, and she worked to revise,
rebuild models, tried to get them approved. She created a third model that
Post did not submit for review when the commission asked
for other sculptors to submit their proposals. In June 1911, the commission
suspended her contract and gave the contract to
Daniel Chester French. Mears consulted with French just
prior to his selection about technical matters regarding the
enlargement of her third model. The largest collection
of Mears’ work is at the Paine Art Center and
Arboretum in Oshkosh. Vinnie Ream,
a Wisconsin sculptor. She was born in a log cabin
in Madison, where, among other things, her family
operated a stagecoach stop, one of the first
hotels in Madison. Vinnie Ream was the youngest
artist and the first woman to receive a commission
as an artist for a statue from the United States
government. “The West,” a statue
by Vinnie Ream, was displayed at the Columbian
Exhibition in 1893 in Chicago. Ream died in 1914, and in 1916
her husband donated the sculpture to the
state of Wisconsin and moved it to Madison,
her birthplace. The white marble statue
is on the first floor southwest round room
in our Capitol. Daniel Chester French was an
American sculptor who studied in New York and
in Florence, Italy. He established his studio
in New York City in 1887. By the time the Capitol
was under construction, he was recognized as one of
the most accomplished artists of his period. French gave us “Wisconsin,” the
statue on top of the Capitol. French’s reputation was
established with one of his earliest sculptures, the
Revolutionary War “Minute Man,” which you can find at
the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. In 1892, French was called to
Chicago to execute two of the most important sculptural works
at the Columbian Exhibition: “The Republic” and
“The Triumph of Columbus.” “The Republic” was prominently
positioned over the waters of the main lagoon
at the exhibition, along which the most
significant buildings of the fair were placed. Along with Helen Mears’
sculpture and “The Republic,” those two previous sculptures
represent important prototypes for “Wisconsin,” which is
on top of the Capitol. French is best known for his
design of the Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial
in Washington, DC, which was carved by
Attilio Piccirilli and is Piccirilli’s
most famous work. The statue “Wisconsin”
being raised, June 1914. Being placed on top of
the Capitol, June 1914. “Wisconsin.” French built a temporary studio
on the cliffs of the Hudson River where some 200 feet above
the valley floor he worked and modeled his figure so that he
might judge its proportion and attitude from appropriate
distance below. “Wisconsin” is 15 feet,
four inches high, and weighs over three tons. The right hand points forward to express the meaning of
the motto of the state, and the left hand holds globes
surrounded by an eagle. There are those who when she
went up suggested that it was Mrs. Rennebohm looking for
the next drugstore site. [laughter] On the crest of her
helmet is a badger, the emblem of the state
of Wisconsin. And this is a view you won’t
get from the sidewalk. It’s not recommended you
fly your drone over here. This is a no-fly zone. So– Kenyon Cox was trained at the
École des Beaux-Arts in the 1870s, following which he
worked as a book illustrator and as a teacher at the Art
Students League in New York. His first large-scale
mural project was for George Post’s Manufactures
and Liberal Arts building in the 1893
Columbian Exhibition. His reputation greatly increased
after working at the exhibition, and he installed a number of
murals and public buildings including Minnesota
and Iowa capitols. Cox gave us the rotunda mosaics
and the Senate murals. The pendentive,
if you don’t know, since a technical term, but
there’s no better word for it, it’s that transition
between a round dome and a square building. On August 23, 1911, the Capitol
Commission directed George Post to begin a search for the artist
to do the paintings, the murals, that were scheduled and designed
to be done in the pendentives. And he was told they won’t
cost any more than $16,000. So Kenyon Cox said,
“I’ll put glass mosaics
there for $20,000.” He got the job. Cox supervised the assembly
of the mosaics in New York, and the first panel arrived in
Madison in June of 1913. The other panels followed
that summer and fall. The rotunda wasn’t ready. They were put in a storage,
and on May 14, 1914, Cox began supervising
their installation. They’re about 12-foot high and
average about 24 feet wide, and each is made up of
100,000 pieces of glass. Cox considered these
mosaics his best work. Legislation is represented
by a powerful old man with a long beard reminiscent
of Moses, the first lawgiver. Government, the executive power,
is a man in his prime holding a staff in his right hand, in his
left rests a great sword, sheathed, only to be drawn
in case of necessity. Justice is represented in the
judicial function of weighing one cause against another. She looks forward while with
either hand she tests the weights of the scales and the
balance let down from heaven. With her right hand, Liberty
guards the ballot box, while in her left she points
upward as if to say, “Under a representative form
of government, the voice of the people
is the voice of God.” After they were completed,
Lew Porter, secretary of the
building commission, wrote Cox that he thought that
the mosaics were not only beautiful but the best
artwork in the building. Lew Porter wrote: “They are head
and shoulders above everything we have in the Capitol
or will have, and everyone is much
pleased with them.” Edwin Blashfield was
an American artist who specialized in
mural painting. He advocated for public art. In 1867, he traveled to Paris where he studied and
exhibited his artwork. In 1892, he received a call to
go to Chicago and do the painting for the dome in Post’s
Manufactures and Liberal Arts building at the 1893
Columbian Exhibition. That work resulted in him
getting national recognition. Blashfield gave us the
rotunda oculus mural and the Assembly mural. Blashfield completed the mural
in the Assembly chamber, which was the first art of the
Capitol completed as the west wing was being completed in the
largest room in the Capitol, the Assembly chamber. He just completed that
when Post recommended him for the mural in the
eye of the dome. In 1911, his reputation is one
of America’s foremost painters of historical subjects
was well established. He was well known for careful
attention to costumes and furnishings and the integration
of symbolic figures. The mural is considered
Blashfield’s best work. Blashfield worked on the
mural through 1912 and 1913 in New York, and in August of
1914 Porter wrote Blashfield requesting that he proceed
with installation quickly because the scaffolding required
represented a fire hazard and it was in the rotunda and it was impeding the work
being done in the rotunda area. So the circular painting, which
is composed of five canvases, was put into place 200 feet
above the rotunda floor in September 1914. The painting is 34
feet in diameter, and each of the figures is
approximately 13 feet high. The mural’s in perfect harmony with the surrounding
architecture. The opening, which looks
like a picture frame, is the handrail on a
balcony that looks down into the rotunda floor
200 feet below. It is smaller than
the 34-foot mural. It’s about 27-foot so that
at any angle from the floor you see the mural,
you don’t see past it. The subject is the
resources of Wisconsin. And Wisconsin is symbolized
by the lady in the center. She’s sitting on clouds and is
wrapped in an American flag. She holds the coat of arms of
Wisconsin in one hand and a scepter of
wheat in the other. Around her, below her,
the ladies are holding up the state’s products: lead,
copper, tobacco, fruit, and a freshwater pearl. You can see Blashfield’s
original sketches for this mural in the south wing on the
third floor cross-corridor. It hangs next to the rendering
that Post did in ’06. Behind the president’s platform
in the Senate chamber, there are three murals
by Kenyon Cox. The three panels at to be
taken as one picture, symbolizing the opening
of the Panama Canal. In the center, Atlantic
typified by a figure of Neptune places a ring
on the finger of a goddess with a steering oar
representing the Pacific. Below, two children
support a shield with a coat of arms
of the United States. And the side panels,
Peace and Commerce welcome the nations of the world
to the ceremony. To the right, behind Atlantic,
Peace welcomes France, Germany, and Great Britain. In the opposite panel, Commerce
beckons Japan and China, behind whom is a figure
symbolizing the Semitic races. Seated in a boat is a figure
representing Polynesia. The first ship passed
through the Panama Canal August 15, 1914. So the mural was being done,
commemorating the opening which had not yet happened. Cox was a little
apprehensive about proposing this historic mural in that
it was current events, but it was very well received
and Wisconsin has the news and now the history
of the Panama Canal. In the center panel,
America blesses the union of the Atlantic and Pacific. In the Assembly chamber, we find “Wisconsin: Past, Present, and
Future” by Edwin Blashfield. This was the first mural
done in the building. As I said, in the largest
room in the building. The setting is pine forests with an effect of late
afternoon sunlight. A female figure,
symbolizing Wisconsin, is seated on a
rock among figures which are intended
to suggest the past. Around her, with aquatic plants
flying around their heads and bodies, a woman standing
and seated symbolizing Lake Superior, Lake Michigan,
and the Mississippi River. The side and behind the
Mississippi River figure we see early French
explorers of Wisconsin. Further to your right is one of
Wisconsin’s color guards of ’61. To the extreme right are two
Indians who shade their eyes from the light, suggesting
things of the past, and to the extreme left is the
future who shelters her lamp of progress with her hand and
listens to the figure of conservation forest who tells
her to take care of her trees. What I was going to say is where
the soldiers are from regiments of ’61, when the mural was done
and Blashfield was asked to describe it, he wrote: “Since
the painting was placed on the “wall, a badger has crept in
and made himself at home.” When Post saw the
finished mural, he saw that it lacked a badger
and instructed Blashfield to put a badger in.
[laughter] So a soldier sitting
on the rock was painted out, the badger was painted in,
and today the nature of oil paintings allows you to see a
ghost of a soldier coming back. Charles Turner was an American
artist and muralist, and he was born in
Baltimore and studied art in Europe under French masters. He was once chairman of the
School Committee at the Art Students League,
and he was president of the National Society
of Mural Painters. Turner was assistant director of
decorations at the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, under fellow muralist
Francis Millet. Turner gave us the murals in
the north hearing room. Now, the north hearing room
was the Railroad Commission. The Railroad Commission was
responsible for all transportation and insurance. So they had a very
large responsibility, and they have a very
large marble room. The north hearing room
has cove ceilings, and in the coves Turner painted
murals representing methods of transportation in Wisconsin from
the earliest times to 1917, using a color scheme
that is coordinated with the marble walls. The first panel,
opposite the door, represents a party of
Indians on horseback. The subject is adapted
from a photograph taken in Yellowstone
National Park. The second panel, to the right,
represents a trading station on the shore of a lake. Canoe is the means
of transportation
during that period. The third panel represents the
colonial period in which the stagecoach was used before
railroads were introduced. The fourth panel, a 1917 harbor
is shown with a steamship, a train, an automobile,
and an airplane. Again, some current events as
well as news for today. Hugo Ballin was an American
artist, muralist, author, and film director who was born
in New York City and studied at the Art Students League of New
York and in Venice, Italy. In 1917, he began working for
Goldwyn Pictures in New Jersey. He moved to Los Angeles in 1921
and produced silent films for his own production company. When Hollywood started
making talkies, Ballin went back to his first
career as a classically-trained muralist, and he became one
of the foremost muralists in the Los Angeles area. His silent films include
“Jane Eyre,” done in 1921, and “Vanity Fair,” done in 1923. Ballin gave us 26 murals in the
governor’s conference room. The governor’s conference room
was designed in the Venetian renaissance style and is
inspired by the council chambers in the Doge’s Palace in Venice. Ballin ceiling murals
are allegorical, suggesting the positive
attributes of Wisconsin and human endeavor generally. The murals on the walls
depict various scenes from Wisconsin history. The circular mural on the
ceiling in the governor’s conference room, it’s nine
feet in diameter. It represents Wisconsin
surrounded by her attributes. She has an open book
in her right hand, and you can see the words
justice, charity, invention, religion, pioneering and art. These are the subjects of the
other ceiling panels, which are in the shapes
of Ts and Ls around that central
circular mural. You’ll find three mottos
on the ceiling: “The will of the people
is the law of the land,” happens to be the title of
Tommy Thompson’s book too; “The progress of
the state is born “in Temperance, Justice
and Prudence;” and “Tempus Edax Rerum.” I think that’s Latin. That means “Time, the
devourer of all things.” Charity, under the arbor of
plenty, is dispensing kindness. The child is feeding the dog,
symbolic of dependency. And on the stone seat,
you’ll see an open moneybag. Art is the only mural in the
governor’s conference room that was fully restored, and
when I used the word restored, it was repainted. When we went after those works
of art, the art itself, the media was more delicate
than the polyurethane that covered them that
was put on in the 1960s. So we backed off and saved it
for a later day when technology may be able to do a better
job of restoration. The painting on the left as
you enter, on the west wall, is Jean Nicolet meeting
Wisconsin Indians in 1634. He expected to meet
Chinese people. His discharge of his two pistols got him the name
of Thunder Beaver. The painting on the right as
you enter, on the west wall, illustrates the surrender of the
Ho-Chunk warrior Red Bird, ending the Winnebago
War of 1827. There were three Indians
involved in that conflict, and they were
thrown into prison. Red Bird died, the other two
were sentenced to be hung but they were pardoned by the
President John Quincy Adams. The woman in the center of the
mural on the south wall represents unity, the spirit
of the Civil War. She’s holding the beginning
and end dates of the war, 1861 and 1865. The woman to the left
is Cordelia Harvey. She’s the widow of our governor,
Louis Harvey. During the war, Governor Harvey
asked Lincoln to establish military hospitals in the north. He died in 1862, but Mrs. Harvey
continued his efforts and established three
hospitals in Wisconsin. The left space between the
windows on the east wall, we see Increase Lapham, a Wisconsin
scientist who founded the US Weather Bureau, known today as
the National Weather Service. He was the first to
predict the weather, and his mission was to give
a storm warning system. In the two corners
of the east wall, you find two of Wisconsin’s
previous Capitols: a two-story frame building in Belmont that
hosted the 1836 session of the legislature that decided to have
Madison be the capital of the territory, and the dome
sandstone structure that was being dismantled as Ballin
was painting his murals. In the old Capitol, the Supreme
Court hearing room was adorned with portraits of
retired justices. The members of the court felt
strongly that this custom should be continued
in the new Capitol. I would have put the
Supreme Court hearing room out of harmony with the
other principle rooms, all of which had murals
scheduled for them, and they were done at
that point in time. So Francis Millet was the
decorations director of the Columbian Exhibition
in Chicago in 1893, and he was hired to do the
murals in the hearing room. And he worked really hard
to convince the justices to accept the historic murals. And his sketches for
the murals were lost with the sinking of the Titanic. When the Titanic went down, it
also took with it some doubled bookmatch marble that was to
replace some rejected marble in the Supreme Court
hearing room, which, if you go in there,
you can find it. It’s the only panel that’s
not double bookmatched. And if you don’t know
what that means, that’s splitting it twice so that it looks like a mirror
image in two directions. Albert Herter was an American
painting, illustrator, muralist, and interior designer who was
born in New York City and studied at the Art Students
League and then in Paris. Herter was hired to do
the historic murals of the Supreme Court
hearing room. Second choice,
but he did a great job. The first mural in the
Supreme Court hearing room is above the justices
on the east wall. And it the scene
of the American, it represents American law,
and it’s the signing of the Constitution. You’ve got George Washington
sitting behind the table there. You’ve got James Madison
with a cloak on his arm. He’s talking with
Alexander Hamilton. You can see Thomas Jefferson
standing back by Washington, talking to another delegate with
his back turned to you. And the group of men
in the foreground, on the left you’ll
see Ben Franklin. Keep in mind that in 1787
when this was going on, Jefferson was the minister to
France, and he wasn’t there. He was in France. And if you look hard at this, you see the paintings
behind Washington. Those are all the
presidents yet to be. [laughter] So there’s some
artistic license. The mural on the north
wall is the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215
demonstrating English law. You see the boy with
the dog on the left? That’s Christian and
that’s Herter’s son. He went on to be the US
Secretary of State under Dwight D Eisenhower. The mural on the west wall,
above the door, illustrates Roman law and
is taken from an episode in the life of Caesar Augustus. And the south wall, we have a
little history of Wisconsin when it was a
Michigan territory. This is the murder trial of
Chief Oshkosh in 1830. Chief Oshkosh proved that he had
followed Native American law, and he won the case. And that set precedents for the
spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. [applause]

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