the apotheosis of washington

apotheosis of washingtonOld frescos and architecture are interesting. We pass them in towns and cities, walking by banks and court buildings occupying blocks of development. Because they are ingrained into our routine of everyday visual cues, the iconic idea becomes a familiarity while their intentions and origins remain detached.

In the eye of the rotunda of the Capital building in Washington DC is an enormous fresco. It’s titled, “The Apotheosis of Washington”, and was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865.

Looking at the meaning of the word “apotheosis” reveals further information.

–noun, plural -ses
1. the elevation or exaltation of a person to the rank of a god.
2. the ideal example; epitome; quintessence: This poem is the apotheosis of lyric expression.

That’s neat….so it’s not just the depiction of an ascension into a higher realm, but perhaps the additional elevation into godhood, like a story from greek mythology.

After finding this out, it makes me wonder how many people that frequent the building know that they pass under a fresco that depicts the first US president in this way.  I myself wouldn’t have, until looking into this just a little today.