Constantino Brumidi's frescoes and murals can be found throughout the U.S. Capitol. His most accessible and brilliant creations include the allegorical fresco The Apotheosis of Washington in the canopy of the Rotunda and the extensive frescoes and murals in the Brumidi Corridors. These hallways on the first floor of the Senate wing are some of the most ornate and creatively decorated public spaces in the nation. Inspired by Raphael's loggia in the Vatican, Brumidi's work in the corridors is unique in integrating classical imagery with patriotic American themes.
Born in Rome of Italian and Greek parentage, Brumidi trained in drawing, painting, and sculpture at Rome's prestigious Accademia di San Luca. By 1840, these artistic skills were put to good use when Brumidi and several other artists were commissioned to restore the richly decorated frescoes in the Vatican Palace. Brumidi's career blossomed with commissions for portraits and frescoes in several churches and palaces. Following a pardon by the pope for his role in the republican revolution, Brumidi immigrated to the United States. Five years later he became a naturalized citizen.
Brumidi was hired to decorate the Capitol extension with murals and frescoes. His Capitol frescoes were probably the first true frescoes to be painted in this country. Brumidi continued to embellish the walls of the Capitol for the next 25 years.
Brumidi's last years were spent painting the historic scenes in the Rotunda frieze. Proud of his achievements, the artist is reported to have remarked: "My one ambition and my daily prayer is that I may live long enough to make beautiful the Capitol of the one country on earth in which there is liberty."  He died on February 19, 1880.
1. Barbara A. Wolanin, comp., Constantino Brumidi: Artist of the Capitol (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1998), 9.