American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Studies for Jefferson Building Murals

Preparatory sketch for mural in Jefferson Building

Preparatory sketch for murals in Jefferson Building
Kenyon Cox (1856-1919)
Study for Architecture, ca. 1895
Drapery study for figure of Botany, ca. 1895
Graphite drawings
Prints & Photographs Division
Exchange with the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1945 (7.11a,b)
[ Digital ID#s ppmsca-05388, ppmsca-05571 ]

In 1893, famed architect Charles McKim asked artist Kenyon Cox to create a mural for a museum in Brunswick, Maine. Cox's success led McKim to recommend him to the Library of Congress, which was in search of the most accomplished American sculptors and painters of the day to complete the building's decorative program. Cox received a commission to paint two lunettes in the Southwest Gallery, "The Arts" (on the north end wall) and "The Sciences" (on the south end wall). Cox made several preparatory sketches for his murals in the Thomas Jefferson Building, like those on display here, covering each in a grid with exacting measurements.


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