Topping the Dome by Richard F Novak

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2013 will be the 150th anniversary of topping the Capitol Dome in Washington with the sculpture of Freedom by Thomas Crawford. A picture of the Capitol Dome is second only to the Flag as America's most iconic image and can be seen daily as a segue into news from Washington. This is the tragic story of the creator and creation of the sculpture Freedom.
In 1835, Thomas Crawford leaves America to study sculpture in Rome under the world's premier sculptor. His career takes him back and forth between the ancient Capitol of Rome and the new Capitol of America, Washington, D.C. Art and politics collide as his patrons in America struggle to have his work accepted by a Congress bitterly divided over the issue of slavery. Crawford would eventually create more sculpture for the Capitol than any other sculptor. With the country at war, Abraham Lincoln refuses to halt the construction of the Capitol, and Crawford's greatest work, the statue of Freedom, is placed on the Capitol Dome in the midst of the Civil War, December 2, 1863. In this true story, three other men, Charles Sumner, a staunch abolitionist, Senator, and ideologue, Clark Mills, a self-taught sculptor and opportunist, and the supervisor of construction of the Capitol, Captain Montgomery C. Meigs, an autocratic achiever, play major roles in this confrontation between art and politics and the success of Thomas Crawford. Their careers, in their own way, mirror Crawford's during this tumultuous period leading up to the Civil War.

About Richard F Novak

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Richard F. Novak, a sculptor for 40 years, has works in both public spaces and private collections. This work is the culmination of two years research. My original intent was to tell the story from the perspective of a sculptor. However, as I moved through the extensive research material available, the era and the fascinating men and women who touched on his life shaped an intriguing story which I felt must be included with Crawford's. Rather than present the story as another encyclopedic description of Crawford's achievements, I decided to bring these amazing characters to life in the genre of an historical novel. The dialogue is, of course, fictional, but the story is based on the actual events as they unfolded from 1835 to 1863. For more see
Published November 30, 2011 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 233 pages
Genres: History, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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A fictionalized account of how two American sculptors from vastly different backgrounds came to adorn the U.S. Capitol in an era of national strife.

Apr 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Topping the Dome

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