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
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.
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.
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.