East Wing – Faces King Street
Supreme Court & Governor's Conference Room
Pediment design “Law”
The central and main figure of the group is Liberty, holding a torch in her right hand to
enlighten Justice, and a shield in her left protecting Truth. Both Justice and Truth are
seated, the former holding the scales and the latter a mirror, symbols of justice and truth.
To the right of Justice are two figures, the older resting his right hand on the table of
stone of the decalogue, and the younger shielding the table. On the left are also two figures,
Anglo-Saxon in type, carrying and caring for the Magna Charta. To the extreme right of the
observer is a group engaged in reading the laws or statutes of the country, and to the left a
family group in which the mother is shown as inculcating the principles of right living, upon
the children. The former group is concerned with the written law, the latter with the
traditions that have given character to the race. Liberty is placed in the center in a
commanding position, indicating the importance of the east wing of the Capitol in that it
contains the Executive Department, as well as the department of the highest State Court.
North Wing – Faces North Hamilton Street
North Hearing Room and the GAR Memorial Hearing Room
Pediment design “Wisdom and Learning of the World”
by Attilio Piccirilli
The central figure holding a tablet on which is written the inscription "Sapientia," or wisdom, represents enlightenment. The character of this enlightenment is indicated in the other figures of the group. The female figure leaning on the rake symbolizes agriculture, man's first and mightiest task, subduing the earth and changing the wilderness into fruitful fields. The mother and child symbolize maternity, the home or family, which is the foundation of society and the strength of a nation. She is approaching the shrine of Wisdom, seeking knowledge to instruct and guide her child, the child in which lies the hope of the future of the race. The tremendous responsibility involved in this task, the seriousness and conscientiousness with which the mother is applying herself, is strikingly brought out by the artist in the pose of the figure. Her personal interest in the progress of her husband, who typifies labor, and whom she is guiding toward Enlightenment for wisdom, is finely suggested by her hand resting on his shoulder. On the extreme right are two figures, male and female, symbolizing the fine arts, music, poetry, and the arts of design. The group of two figures on the extreme left, male and female, represent philosophy, geometry, and the sciences in general. The group immediately to the left of the central figure symbolizes the idea of mechanics or physics. Electricity is the female figure, leading the engineer, who, in turn, is guiding and supporting the mechanic to "Sapientia." The group also illustrates comradeship, brotherly love, and the religious principle.
South Wing – Faces South Hamilton Street
Pediment design “Virtues and Traits of Character”
by Adolph Alexander Weinman
The central figure in the group symbolizes Wisdom and follows the ancient usage of representing that virtue by a female figure. Thought and reflection are inseparable attributes of wisdom, if, indeed, they are not the material that develop into wisdom. The artist represents thought by the winged skull in the left hand of Wisdom and reflection by the mirror in her right. Back of the central figure is a mass of foliage, suggesting the value of wide knowledge in the exercise of wisdom. Immediately to the right is a standing figure, holding in the left hand an equilateral triangle which appropriately represents equity. The corresponding figure on the left carries a square signifying rectitude. On the right are three seated figures, symbolizing executive power, meditation, and prudence in the order given. Prudence is shown with a scroll in her right hand and resting on a casket of documents, indicating the need for knowledge of what has been attempted heretofore and the result accomplished. Success depends upon the use made of the experience of others, as well as that of our own. To the left are also three figures in similar attitude to those on the right and represent the calmness and caution of diplomacy, the earnestness of eloquence, and the clear vision of progress. The winged ball in the left hand of the figure on the extreme left of the group symbolizes Progress.
West Wing – Faces State Street
Pediment design “Agriculture”
In the center is a female figure representing the state, and in throwing back her veil she proclaims that her resources are only partially developed. The horse, the ox, the sheep, etc., represent the wonderful advantages Wisconsin offers for stock and dairy industries. Domesticated animals of the highest type, for which the state is admirably adapted and already famous, form a conspicuous part of the group. Agricultural interests are typified by the growing wheat through which the animals are being led, and by the corn harvested and evidently being saved for seed. No doubt it represents pure bred corn, which has already done much for Wisconsin. Forest products are seen in the lumber being carried by another figure, as well as by the walls forming part of the background of the scene. The wealth of lakes and rivers is shown by the two figures toward the left, handling fishing nets and securing the haul. Hunting finds its symbolism in the Indian and his dog. The badger at the extreme left represents the emblem of the state.