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Brumidi's study for the Apotheosis (Courtesy Skinner, Inc.)

On March 4, Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers in Boston featured a piece of art of interest to many in Washington, DC. Constantino Brumidi’s study for his great The Apotheosis of Washington (1865) had long been in private hands (although it has been displayed at the Hono­lulu Academy of Arts), and this auction presented an opportunity to make the piece available to much wider audience. USCHS and others affiliated with the Capitol hoped that a deep-pocketed benefactor would purchase the study and donate it to the Capitol for display at the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC).

Alas, no such luck–but the study will come to DC for public display, as the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum won the auction and did offer the possibility that it could be exhibited at the CVC. The Washington Post‘s John Kelly covered the story in several columns and provides some background on Brumidi as well as those who keep his memory alive.

Brumidi's Apotheosis as seen from the floor of the Capitol's rotunda (Courtesy Architect of the Capitol)

Do you remember the first time you encountered Brumidi’s masterpiece in the Capitol’s dome? What were your first impressions?