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The United States Capitol

Fred J. Maroon; text by Suzy Maroon (1993) 

"Over the course of its two-hundred-year history the United States Capitol has grown, sometimes fitfully and sometimes gracefully, from being the mere symbol of an idea--the idea of government by the people--to being a cherished monument that embodies the nation's rich remembrance of the past and high hopes for the future. In that respect, it is timeless."

The United States Capitol traces the birth and the evolution of the Capitol building, from the contest that started it all to the celebrations and ceremonies of the present day. Fred Maroon's stunning photographs of countless areas and aspects of the Capitol are enhanced by the rich, authoritative text of Suzy Maroon. Together, these two talented individuals take readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Capitol, giving them the unique opportunity to view rooms and works of art that are rarely seen by the public.

The book begins with a discussion of the history of the early days of the Capitol. The Founding Fathers proposed a contest open to anyone with an interest in shaping what would become the symbol of a nation. Although his design was received four months after the official deadline, Dr. William Thornton won the prize. After numerous architects, countless ideas, and more than five decades, most of the Capitol building had been completed. Decorating the Capitol with artwork began in earnest with the hiring of Constantino Brumidi, an Italian fresco artist of immeasurable talent. The beauty and genius of Brumidi's art are brought to life in Fred Maroon's vibrant photographs. The book is divided into eleven well-planned chapters that depict and discuss all areas of the Capitol: entrances and porticoes, the dome, the corridors of power, private offices, and the past and present Senate and House chambers.

Inspired by the exquisite artwork and architecture surrounding both himself and his camera, Fred Maroon expressed his awe about photographing the Capitol: "When all the lights were finally in place and calibrated to balance and harmonize properly in the Capitol, I felt [a] rush of exhilaration as I looked through the viewer and finally exposed the film." Thanks to the Maroons, readers can take an exhilarating journey two hundred years in the making.