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Nebraska State Capitol

Lincoln, NE

Rotunda floor entrance panels

Vital Energy; Human Family (Existence); Capitoline Jove; Athena and Erechtheus, 1927

Commissioned by: Bertram Goodhue AssociatesIconographer: Hartley Burr AlexanderArtistic Collaborator: Hartley Burr AlexanderMedium: marble mosaic set into inlaid marbleExecuted by: De Paoli; Sunderland Brothers

At each of the four entrances to the rotunda, Hartley Burr Alexander had Hildreth Meière design a floor panel representing one of the cardinal points. On the panel to the north, she depicted Vital Energy, the life-giving forces of the universe; to the south: the Human Family (Existence), human life lifting itself up from the natural world; to the east: Capitoline Jove, representing the First Republic, the sire of mind and justice; and to the west, Athena and Erechtheus, symbolic of the mind issuing from the autochthonous world, and of a mind which could conceive of democracy.

Vital Energy

Vital Energy

Human Family (Existence)

Human Family (Existence)

Capitoline Jove

Capitoline Jove

Athena and Erechtheus

Athena and Erechtheus

On the rotunda floor itself, Meière depicted a central medallion representing Mother Nature Enthroned, with two female figures symbolizing Agriculture and Industry, upon whom she bestows life, on either side of her. Mother Nature is surrounded by four smaller medallions depicting the Genius of the Waters, the Genius of the Fire, the Genius of the Air, and the Genius of the Earth. These medallions, in turn, are connected by guilloches, or interlaced bands, depicting appropriate forms of prehistoric life on the prairie in order of evolution for each element.1

Rotunda floor

Rotunda floor

1

See Catherine Coleman Brawer, Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière (St. Bonaventure, New York: St. Bonaventure University, 2009): 26-27, Brawer and Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière (New York: Andrea Monfried Editions, 2014): 66-68.

Commission Location

Emblem

Nebraska State Capitol
1445 K Street
Lincoln, NE 68509

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