Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way
Westward expansion, Manifest Destiny
Emanuel Leutze’s mural celebrates the western expansion of the United States. A group of pioneers and their train of covered wagons are pictured at the continental divide, looking towards the sunset and the Pacific Ocean. The border depicts vignettes of exploration and frontier mythology. Beneath the central composition is a panoramic view of their destination “Golden Gate,” in San Francisco Bay. The mural’s title is a verse from the poem “On the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America” by Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753).
United States Capitol, Washington D.C.
Architect of the Capitol
July 1861 to November 1862
20'-by-30'-foot mural using a German technique called stereochromy, in which pigments are applied to plaster and sealed with waterglass, a silica solution that preserves and enhances the colors.