The Statue of Freedom

The bronze Statue of Freedom is the crowning feature of the dome of the United States Capitol. Freedom is depicted as a classical female figure wearing flowing draperies. Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword; her left holds a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with thirteen stripes. Her helmet is encircled by stars and features a crest composed of an eagle's head, feathers and talons. She stands 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds; her crest rises 288 feet above the east front plaza. The statue was sculpted by American artist Thomas Crawford in Rome in 1857, during the construction of the Capitol's present cast-iron dome. Crawford's plaster model was shipped to the United States and then cast in bronze by Clark Mills at his foundry in the District of Columbia. The bronze statue was installed atop the Capitol dome late in 1863.