Virginians celebrated the installation of a new Thomas Jefferson bronze sculpture by StudioEIS in a two day unveiling ceremony on May 3rd and 4th of this year.
The eight foot bronze sculpture depicts Jefferson at the age of 36 as governor. The sculpture which was dedicated in a private unveiling ceremony at the Virginia State Capitol was attended by members of the state legislature where I delivered the keynote address. The Jefferson sculpture, nearly a year in progress, was warmly received by Governor Robert F. McDonnell on behalf of the state in a ceremony attended by school children on May 4th.
The sculpture is a fitting tribute to Jefferson who designed the Virginia State Capitol. This piece now sits in a beautiful rotunda at the gateway between the new visitor center and the original capitol building Jefferson completed in 1788. Jefferson’s design was modeled after the Maison Carrée at Nîmes in southern France, an ancient Roman temple.
As I mentioned in my speech, Thomas Jefferson no doubt knew very early on what legacy he would leave behind – politicians, artists, thinkers… people know when history will make room for them. What he could not know was that today in this edition to the very building he designed, we would honor his memory in a tradition he loved and saw great value in.
My hope is that this sculpture will garner interest and delight.