The murals of the Brumidi Corridors in the U.S. Capitol showcase predominantly native birds, fruits, and flowers set amidst classical motifs inspired by 16th-century Renaissance frescoes in Rome's Vatican Palace. Constantino Brumidi (1805-1880) and his team of artists executed the Brumidi Corridors' murals from 1857 to 1860 and included more than 350 individual birds of at least 100 species.
To accurately render many of these birds, Brumidi referred to ornithological lithographs that were published in reports to Congress from 19th-century expeditions sponsored by the U.S. government. These expeditions explored such geographical areas as the Texas-Mexico border, the American West, and South America to survey boundaries, determine routes for the first transcontinental railroad, and make astronomical observations of the southern hemisphere. The lithographs were hand colored by expert ornithologists, and provided Brumidi with a rich source of imagery from the New World for his elaborate murals in the Senate wing of the Capitol.
The selection shown here represents the nearly four dozen birds in the Brumidi Corridors that were inspired by specimens exactingly documented in the 19th-century congressional reports.