Columbus Doors

The Columbus Doors, also called the Rogers Doors or Rotunda Doors, stand imposingly at the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol Building, almost 17 feet high and weighing 20,000 pounds. The bronze doors are curved, with a semicircular tympanum above two valves that are divided into four panels each. The details of each scene are finely modeled, and techniques of Renaissance perspective and different levels of relief give each scene a sense of depth.


At the pinnacle is a bust of Columbus, surrounded by rays and oak leaves, signifying his rising to glory. A running border is ornamented with Indian headdresses and emblems of conquest, navigation, the arts and sciences, history, agriculture, and commerce. The four figures symbolizing the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe, and America indicate the entire world's acknowledgement of Columbus's accomplishment. Between the panels are sculpted heads of historians and others whose writings on Columbus's voyage were the bases for the scenes depicted.


The life of Columbus begins at the bottom of the left valve and continues in a clockwise progression.


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Taken on October 13, 2011