United States Senate
United States Senate Senators HomeCommittees HomeLegislation & Records HomeArt & History HomeVisitors Center HomeReference Home
United States Senate
Origins & Development
Historical Minutes
Special Collections
Graphic Arts
Oral History

  Seth Eastman's Fort Paintings
Principal Fortifications of the United States
 Fort Taylor, Florida
(1870-1875) by Seth Eastman
 Fort Taylor, Florida 

The federal government broke ground on Fort Zachary Taylor in 1845, the same year that Florida became a state. Progress was extremely slow because of the remote location at Key West harbor and the tropical climate. The former made obtaining building materials difficult, and the latter brought yellow fever and hurricanes. Although its completion was thus delayed until 1866, the fort nonetheless played a significant part during the Civil War by intercepting blockade-running ships. It may have been this role, as well as Fort Taylor’s physical setting, that inspired Eastman’s unusually expressive painting.

This is one of the more striking paintings in the series because of the ambitious and dramatic atmosphere. The fort is solid and inert, its flag positioned in the exact center of the image. The sky is a mauve-gray concoction with darker cloud trails at the top. The water is windblown and dynamic, swirling around the foreground buoys and composed in a counterpoint of movement with the sky. The huge fort is suspended between sky and water, slightly left of center, with carefully drawn sailing vessels balancing the picture to the right. Only a small portion of land is visible on the left.

Previous Next
Artifact        Title/Artist
Fort Defiance, New Mexico (now Arizona) Fort Defiance, New Mexico (now Arizona)
by Seth Eastman
Fort Delaware, Delaware Fort Delaware, Delaware
by Seth Eastman
Fort Knox, Maine Fort Knox, Maine
by Seth Eastman
Fort Mackinac, Michigan Fort Mackinac, Michigan
by Seth Eastman
Fort Scammel and Fort Gorges, Maine Fort Scammel and Fort Gorges, Maine
by Seth Eastman
Fort Taylor, Florida Fort Taylor, Florida
by Seth Eastman
Fort Trumbull, Connecticut Fort Trumbull, Connecticut
by Seth Eastman
West Point, New York West Point, New York
by Seth Eastman

Senate Art

Explore the Senate's Art with the Office of the Senate Curator.


Have questions about Senate art? E-mail the curator, curator@sec.senate.gov.

  Principal Fortifications of the United States

Virtual Capitol Tour

Take a look inside the Capitol with our 360 degree virtual tour!