This section is from the book "The National Capitol. Its Architecture Art And History", by George C. Hazelton, Jr. Also available from Amazon: The National Capitol Its Architecture Art and History.
The story of the Capitol cannot be written without the name Constantino Brumidi. f About his life romance clings. Even in childhood the gods favored his hand with fine artistic cunning. His father was a Greek, his mother an Italian. He learned the art of fresco, which is now in its higher development almost a forgotten art, in Rome, where he was a student of painting and architecture at the Accademia di San Luca. His work in sculpture under the direction of Canova attracted the attention of Thorwaldsen.
Brumidi was a captain of the Papal Guards during the revolutionary times in Rome just before Rossi was assassinated, Pius IX.—an exile—deprived of his temporal power, and Garibaldi and the people triumphant. Refusing to execute commands to turn the guns of his company upon the oppressed, Brumidi's house was surrounded by soldiers in the dead of night, and he himself arbitrarily arrested and thrown into prison, where he lay for thirteen f For facts concerning Brumidi's career, the author is indebted to his son, Mr. L. S. Brumidi, himself an artist months. He was released at the intervention of the Pope, whose friendship he had won by the clever execution of two paintings of his eminence, upon condition that he immediately leave Italy. Brumidi first landed in New York, but finding that city less desirous of art than it is to-day, departed for Mexico in the hope of richer patronage. He returned after three years, and came to Washington, which he had previously visited, to enter upon his life-work at the Capitol.
* See Appendix, p. 259.