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Southwest Gallery

The gallery is framed by two large murals over its doorways, The Arts mural and The Sciences mural both by Kenyon Cox (1856-1919).

The ceiling, twenty nine feet high with square coffers in blue and gold, is divided by ribs that spring from the paired pilasters. The medallions with the letters "C.L." stand for "Congressional Library," the name by which the Library of Congress was still popularly known when the new building was first opened in 1897.

The Arts

In The Arts mural the central throne is occupied by Poetry, represented as a young and beautiful woman crowned with laurel and bearing a lyre. On the steps are two winged figures of genius, one writing down Poetry's words on a tablet and the other raising his arms as he joins the rhythmical swing of her song. On the left are Architecture and Music, and on the right Sculpture and Painting-all typified by female figures bearing an object identifying the art they represent.

The Sciences

In The Sciences mural, Astronomy is the central figure. She holds a pair of compasses and leans forward on her throne to make measurements upon the celestial globe that a winged figure of genius holds up before her. Another genius to the right looks through a telescope. On the left are Physics and Mathematics, and on the right Botany and Zoology - all typified by female figures bearing an object identifying the science they represent.

Barrel Vault ceiling with 'CL'

The ceiling, twenty nine feet high with square coffers in blue and gold, is divided by ribs that spring from the paired pilasters. The medallions with the letters "C.L." stand for "Congressional Library," the name by which the Library of Congress was still popularly known when the new building was first opened in 1897.