State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission


The Genius of Connecticut: The Old and the New

New Genius

Artist: Randolph Rogers
1878 Bronze/Plaster

Genius of ConnecticutOn display in the north lobby of the Capitol is the original plaster model used in the casting of the bronze Genius. The use of the word "genius" connotes that she is a protector figure or a symbol of the spirit of the people of Connecticut.

Randolph Rogers, the artist who designed the bronze "Columbus Doors" on the nation's Capitol, called the piece "The Genius of Connecticut". Ten years earlier (1863-1864, before Colt had died) he had created a sculpture at the request of Colt's wife, Elizabeth for Samuel Colt's Memorial at Cedar Hill Cemetery which he had entitled "The Angel of Resurrection".

The model was made in Rome and the 3.5 ton, 17 feet 10 inches tall figure was cast in Munich, Germany. The statue stood atop the Capitol dome from 1878 until 1938. In 1938 a great hurricane hit the eastern coast of the country. The Genius was damaged and people feared that she would fall from the dome. After a long debate, the statue was removed and placed in the basement. In 1942, the piece was donated to the federal government and melted down as part of the war effort to make ammunition and machine parts.

Stereograph Genius

In the statue's right hand (viewer's left) is a wreath of immortalis or dried flowers to symbolize long life. In her other hand is a wreath of Mountain Laurel, the state flower. On her head she wears white oak leaves for strength from our state tree. The statue's outstretched wings are to protect the people of Connecticut. The Genius has "Roman Toes"; her second toe is longer than the big toe. Some people believe that women with such toes will be placed in positions of power or importance.

The plaster model was restored in the 1980s. At that time a special internal support system was designed for her wings and arms and she was painted bronze. The roman numerals on the marble base are for 1878 (when the bronze statue was placed on the dome) and 1987 (when the model was given a new base).

Read more about the restoration of the Genius of Connecticut here

Genius at the foundry

The New Genius

The new bronze casting of the Genius is the product of a five-year project beginning in 2005 costing approximately $330,000. In August of 2007, Direct Dimensions Inc., a computer-design firm from Owings Mills, Md., had a team in the Capitol that used three different kinds of lasers to track and map every surface of the existing plaster statue accurately to 5/1000ths of an inch. Polich Tallix is the foundry that cast the new bronze Genius.

Due to an $11,000 per month housing fee it was decided to bring the new statue back to the State Capitol, resting on a $30,000 marble base in the rotunda until another $200,000 can be found to once again raise the Genius atop the Capitol dome.

The newly cast bronze Genius is shown being reassembled and mounted in the Capitol:

 The New Genius of Connecticut Photos []

Photos by Robert Caroti / Photos used in animation courtesy of Ken Dixon - Hearst CT Media Group