Ever wonder where those huge murals in the U.S. Capitol building came from? Sunday marks the 132nd anniversary of the death of Constantino Brumidi, the official Artist of the Capitol, who died in poverty after a 25-year distinguished career painting there.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has declared Sunday "Constantino Brumidi Day," and in recognition of the event, there will be a ceremony hosted by various historical societies at Brumidi’s grave in Glenwood Cemetery at 1 p.m. Gray’s proclamation will be read and flowers will be presented by the Rhodes Tavern-DC Heritage Society, the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society, the Italian Cultural Society and the Lido Civic Club.
Brumidi's grave remained unmarked until 1952, when then-Speaker Sam Rayburn unveiled a bronze marker for Brumidi. The artist's murals can be found throughout the Capitol. His creations include The Apotheosis of Washington (in the canopy of the Rotunda) and one-third of the Frieze of American History, also in the Rotunda. He also designed and painted The President’s Room and painted the first tribute to an African American in the Capitol when he placed Crispus Attucks in the center of his painting of the Boston Massacre. Brumidi immigrated to the U.S. in 1852 from Italy.