Columbia in DC?
February 24, 2015 6:43 PM   Subscribe

Are there any statues, memorials, paintings, or other depictions of Columbia (the feminine symbol of freedom) in Washington, DC?

Accessible for the public is ideal! (Looking for this to include in a scavenger hunt.) Googling this is proving to be difficult...
posted by aaanastasia to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's thought that the “Statue of Freedom” on top of the Capitol represents Columbia, even though she isn't explicitly named as such.
posted by mboszko at 6:47 PM on February 24, 2015

I am positive that I have seen such representation at the Smithsonian's American Art or maybe Portrait (they're adjacent), but I'm failing at their search feature. American Art is on twitter, so it's worth asking there.
posted by rtha at 6:53 PM on February 24, 2015

None are listed here. I've lived in the city for years, in the area for more than a decade, have been to most parks in the city, and have never noticed one (and it's the kind of thing I would keep an eye out for).
posted by phrontist at 7:45 PM on February 24, 2015

I think I found one! The Mellon Auditorium, at 1301 Constitution: "Six Doric columns form the auditorium's [outdoor] portico. Over the portico is a pediment titled Columbia, by Edgar Walter. The sculpture on the pediment depicts Columbia (the feminine personification of the United States) seated on a throne-like chair, an eagle on her right, a nude youth on her left, and the rays of the sun spreading out behind her."

Second: it's probably not workable for your purposes, but FYI, the figure of Liberty is in the main fresco in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building. That's technically public, but not really find-and-dash-able.

Finally, at Union Station, one of the six big statues is "Themis, representing freedom and justice," which is close.... but I'm guessing you really want the Columbia name, right?

I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open! (Hey, you could also email to Gene Weingarten at the Washington Post. He does that massive annual Hunt and is a die-hard DC'er, so may even know one off the top of his head.)
posted by argonauta at 10:38 PM on February 24, 2015

There are examples of fractional currency, of which the fourth issue 15-cent piece features Columbia, on display at the National Numismatic Collection at the American Museum of Natural History, last time I was there in 2011. Might want to send reconnaissance, though, to make sure they're still there!

If you need to collect a picture or verification for the scavenger hunt, any movie made by Columbia Tristar has the screen with Columbia on it, recognizable to many. I guess that's not specifically DC, anyone can go to a movie theater to see Columbia. Movies coming out soon under the Columbia Tristar auspice are here:
posted by juniperesque at 7:56 AM on February 25, 2015

The Apotheosis of Washington in the Capitol Building. "Freedom, also known as Columbia, is directly below Washington in the personification of War."
posted by fings at 7:58 AM on February 25, 2015

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