Assault on Capitol: troublemakers' damage on works amounts to $25,000

The office in charge of the Capitol's art collections has submitted the damage count from the Jan. 6 assault: it amounts to $25,000 in damage to works caused by the troublemakers.

Theassault on the Capitol building in Washington last Jan. 6 caused 25,000 euros of damage to be urgently repaired to the historic works and furnishings of the U.S. Congressional seat (this calculation therefore does not include other types of damage, such as torn doors, broken windows, and whatnot: in fact, the total is 30 million dollars). The damage count was presented by theOffice of the Clerk of the Capitol, the office in charge of the building’s conspicuous art collections (13,000 objects of which 535 are displayed in the halls).

“The major damage to the interior and exterior of the building,” wrote Capitol architect James Brett Blanton in a report, “involves shattered glass, broken doors, and graffiti. The statues, wall paintings, historic benches and original shutters have suffered a variety of damage, primarily from concretions of pepper spray and residues from chemical irritants and fire extinguishers. These damages on our precious works of art will require expert cleaning and protective interventions.”

The damage was further detailed in the report by Farar Elliott, curator of the House of Representatives, who also praised the “courageous action” of the Capitol staff, who immediately secured several works during the assault, including the oldest one preserved in the building (a sumptuous silver inkwell from 1819). Elliott reports that eight works were identified as having sustained damage: marble and granite busts of Joe Cannon, Champ Clark, Joe Martin, and Thomas Brackett Reed; portraits of James Madison and John Quincy Adams; a bust of Be Sheekee; and a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Residue of dust from chemical spray was found on these objects, all of which are located near the doors.

“Particulate from fire extinguishers,” Elliott explains, “contains a yellow material that can discolor surfaces it touches, particularly porous materials like marble. The work we will be doing in the next few weeks will remove this oily substance through a combination of mechanical particulate removal and treatment with a 5 percent solution of ammonium citrate, ammonium chloride and ammonium hydroxide at pH 8, and a synthetic magnesium silicate slurry.”

Also to be added to the damage count is the restoration of the bronze lampposts in the Capitol gardens, works by Frederick Law Olmsted (Hartford, 1822 - Belmont, 1903), one of the leading American architects of the nineteenth century, which suffered heavy damage during the attack.

Photo: Attack on the U.S. Congress. Ph. Wim McNamee / Getty

Assault on Capitol: troublemakers' damage on works amounts to $25,000
Assault on Capitol: troublemakers' damage on works amounts to $25,000

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