Technology and Consciousness in the Brumidi Corridor of the United States Capitol

By John Dyer

Introduction to the Patent and Brumidi Corridors of the United States Capitol

The first three lunettes in the Brumidi Corridor portray inventors of the 19th century: Benjamin Franklin, John Fitch, and Robert Fulton. Created in 1873 by Constantino Brumidi, these frescoes describe how technology first changed the relationship between man and his surroundings.

The next two, the Wright brother's plane The Flyer and Charles Lindbergh's The Spirit of St. Louis, represent the increasing dominance of man over nature and the larger corporate effort this domination entails.

The last frescos depict moments from the American space program. The First Landing on the Moon, 1969 and the space shuttle Challenger mark a more explicit representation of the themes treated allegorically in the earlier lunettes: the isolation of the individual and the collectivization of society in the use of technology.