In 1909, the
State of South Dakota awarded the William G Andrews Decorating Company
of Clinton, Iowa a $40,000 contract for decorating the interior of the
new Capitol, including art glass and nine mural paintings.
As noted in
Harold Schuler's Book Pierre Since 1910, "Andrews's
decorating plan consisted of classic border decorations and richly
ornamented designs on the walls and ceilings of the Governor's office,
Supreme Court courtroom, House and Senate Chambers and corridors."
secured commitments from Edward Simmons to supply five pictures, Mr.
Charles Holloway was to contribute three pictures, and Mr. Edwin Howland
Blashfield, one picture.
provided the four pendentives for the dome, and the lunette at the head
of the grand stairway. As described in a guide to the Capitol Building
from the 1920's, narratives for the lunette and pendentives are as
"The Advent of
Commerce at the head of the grand stairway illustrates the bringing of
white trade to the Indians." A further narrative notes "The white trader
has drawn his canoe from the water, and is dealing with the Indians for
the robe spread out before him."
It has been
written of "Agriculture," the north pendentive, that it is conventional
but remarkably executed.
It depicts the
goddess Ceres with stalks of corn.
pendentive is the great Seal of the United States.
was described long ago as "thought by critics to be an unusually strong
Europa and Zeus.
pendentive is the seal of the the nation of France, representing that
South Dakota was once considered part of the Louisiana Purchase before
that block of land was transferred to the United States from France.
Industry and Mining" depicts the goddess Minerva operating a steam
pendentive is the seal of the the nation of Spain, in recognition of the
Unites States being 'discovered' by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
Robinson's Encyclopedia of South Dakota says that the South pendentive,
the Simmons painting "Motherhood" is "portrayed in a masterful way by a
child clinging to the draperies of it's mother."
himself noted of the painting, which pictures Venus and cupid, that
"this is the best thing he had done in my long life of busy artistry."
this mural, you'll find the great seal of the State of South Dakota.
The scale of
the pendantives are not immediately evident from the photos you see
here, but they are quite large - each at about a ten foot diameter.
More of the