Fourth Wisconsin Capitol – Statuaries
The four groups of statuary overlooking the corner pavilions of the Capitol are meant to symbolize fundamental characteristics of the State and its people. By sculptor Karl Bitter, they are made from Bethel Vermont granite. Each consists of three figures. The middle, or chief figure, in each case being placed on a raised base and standing about twelve feet high. The two minor figures are seated and about six feet in height and supplement the idea represented by the major figure. Common to each of the groups the two minor figures are connected by an eagle with outspread wings.

Chicago Architect Daniel Burnham was chosen to judge design entries for the capitol. Burnham suggested that the four tourelles in Post’s submitted design were too large. Post replaced them with statuaries.

  • “Faith”
  • South-East Statuary – Faces MLK Jr. Blvd.
  • The activities of tile human mind (to not stop with observation, nor even with utilizing the material collected by other minds. These furnish the raw material, as it were, of mental products more refined than those that find their completion in the senses or even in tile intellect. Understanding is on a higher plane of mental life than sensation and faith is on a still higher plane than understanding. The artist, no doubt, intended by this group to symbolize religious faith. Bowing the head in obedience to divine and civil law, with a posture expressing, love and charity as well as firmness and strength, -that is the attitude in which the artist represents each member of this group. By placing this group over the main entrance to the building, the artist wishes to bring home the truth that religion is, above all, the force to develop good citizenship.

  • “Knowledge”
  • North-East Statuary – Faces East Washington Avenue
  • The central figure shows a man in his prime contemplating a globe representing the earth. He is evidently engaged in the serious task of putting meaning into what he sees. The world's riddles reveal their significance only to him who bends his efforts to their solution. Original study is supplemented and enriched by the recorded observations and experiences of the past, and the artist testifies to the value of this source of information by representing two men earnestly pursuing the records that are preserved in the scrolls or books open before them. These represent the inherited stores of knowledge, both in practical and speculative lines.
  • “Prosperity & Abundance”
  • North-West Statuary – Faces Wisconsin Avenue
  • Composed of female figures the center one standing by a vase which is overflowing with rich fruits, while she is extending the right hand in an attitude of giving. Each of the other figures bears a cornucopia which is the usual symbol of plenty. Fertility of soil and climatic conditions determine largely the returns for agricultural effort and these in turn determine prosperity in general. Wisconsin is wonderfully favored in this respect. Her soil is rich and her climatic salubrious. From her many varied industries a great stream of wealth flows through the various channels into the homes of her people, enabling them to provide comfortably for themselves as well as for the maintenance and development of their government whose protection they receive.

  • “Strength”
  • South-West Statuary – Faces West Washington Avenue
  • The central figure holds in one hand a short sword and in the other a shield, and shows man ready for his country's defense. Of the subordinate figures, one bears a club and the other a hammer, implements pertaining to such industrial acts as require endurance and muscular strength. Man can achieve little without a fair endowment of bodily vigor; the more liberal the endowment, other things being equal, the greater his possibilities of achievement. One of the figures, powerful in appearance, is represented as being blind, suggesting that physical strength alone is not sufficient to serve efficiently and to defend successfully the state and country. But when supported and directed by knowledge its value is increased a thousand fold for service and defense.