The frieze in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol contains a painted panorama depicting significant events in American history. The frieze is painted in grisaille, a monochrome of whites and browns that resembles sculpture. It measures 8 feet 4 inches in height and approximately 300 feet in circumference. It starts 58 feet above the floor. The frieze is the work of three artists. It was designed by Constantino Brumidi, an Italian artist who studied in Rome before emigrating to America. Brumidi began painting the frieze in 1878, at the age of 73 and worked until his death in February 1880.
Filippo Costaggini, who had also been trained in Rome, was selected to complete the remaining eight scenes using Brumidi's sketches. When he finished in 1889 there was a gap of over 31 feet because of early miscalculations about the height of the frieze. Costaggini hoped to fill it with three of his own scenes, but Congress failed to approve his designs before his death in 1904. In 1951, Allyn Cox was commissioned to paint the last three panels tracing the growth of the nation from the Civil War through the birth of aviation. Cox also cleaned and retouched the frieze. The frieze was finally completed in 1953 and dedicated the next year.