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Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda

  
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*  Rotunda
The first floor rotunda is the site of four beautiful monuments located at the foot of the grand staircases to the second floor. A replica of Wisconsin's State Constitution is displayed in the north. A bust of Robert M. LaFollette, founder of the Progressive Movement and former Wisconsin Governor and United States Senator is located in the east. A replica of the Liberty Bell is displayed in the south and in 1933, a memorial to Wisconsin veterans was erected in the west.

Between the four arches in the rotunda are pendentives, which make the transition from the octagonal form of the rotunda to the circular form of the dome. The four pendentives of the rotunda are decorated with four panels of glass mosaic works designed by Kenyon Cox, for a total cost of $20,000. Kenyon Cox, born in Warren Ohio, (1856 - 1919) was an important American painter, draughtsman and art critic. He also painted murals for the Library of Congress and the Capitols of Iowa and Minnesota.

Cox's mosaic panels are twelve feet high and have an average length of twenty-four feet. Each mosaic consists of approximately 100,000 pieces of glass tile and represents Wisconsin's three branches of government (the legislative, the executive and the judicial) and liberty - the foundation of all power in a free country. "Legislation" is represented as a powerful older man with a long beard who holds a stylus in his right hand and is seated by a sphinx symbol of wisdom. A young man holding a leading staff in his right hand while his left hand rests upon a great sword represents "Government"- the executive power. "Justice" is represented by a young woman seated in a lion throne, who tests the scales in the balance to demonstrate the purely judicial function of weighing one cause against the other. "Liberty" is represented as a young woman wearing the traditional Phrygian cap of red, but is otherwise dressed in two shades of green, the color of youth and hope. Her right hand guards the ballot box while her left hand points upward.

Another major point of interest in the Capitol rotunda is a beautiful ceiling decoration done by the distinguished artist, Edwin Howland-Blashfield. This masterpiece entitled "Resources of Wisconsin" shows a female figure as "Wisconsin". She is located centrally in the painting, enthroned upon clouds and wrapped up in the American flag.

During the winter holiday season, the Wisconsin State Capitol Holiday Tree graces the rotunda during the month of December. Typically a forty-foot Wisconsin grown Balsam Fir is selected as the holiday tree. Each year, the Capitol Holiday Tree is decorated with approximately 700 feet of gold garland, 2,400 multicolored lights and 1,400 handmade ornaments donated by Wisconsin citizens.






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