The Buzz: Brown sees a lesson in Capitol statuary

December 19, 2013 

Brown sees a lesson

in Capitol statuary

When Gov. Jerry Brown arrived in Mountain View for a speaking engagement Monday, he had on his mind two statues on the west pediment of the state Capitol building, architectural elements he said he “noticed for the first time” at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony last week.

“Have you ever stood on the west side, where the tree was and looked up at the facade of the building, where they have those guys on horses with an arrow?” he said.

According to a Smithsonian American Art Museum catalog, the sculptures are “Indian Being Attacked by a Bear” and “Indian Woman Being Attacked by a Buffalo.” Both are replicas of pieces originally installed in 1873 but removed – and lost or destroyed – during restoration of the Capitol in 1948. The replicas were installed in 1982, when Brown was governor before. The issue may find its way into next month’s State of the State address.

“They’ll never do that in a new building, right? They have all these more functional buildings,” Brown said. “I think it’s just kind of interesting, so maybe in my State of the State I’ll explain why that’s significant … You know, the architecture expresses a certain view of the world. That’s a different view than the world today. So, it’s part of our collective learning here.”

– David Siders

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