Published: 08 December 2023

Famous Doors: The Columbus Doors

The Columbus Doors refer to a set of monumental bronze doors located at the entrance of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. These doors are officially known as the Columbus Doors, as they depict scenes from the life of Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer credited with the discovery of the Americas in 1492.

The doors were designed by American sculptor Randolph Rogers and were commissioned in 1858. However, due to the outbreak of the Civil War, the casting and installation of the doors were delayed, and they were not completed and installed until 1871.

The Columbus Doors consist of four panels, each depicting a different significant moment in Columbus’s journey and exploration. These panels portray scenes such as Columbus seeking royal support for his voyage, his departure from Spain, his first landfall in the Americas, and his triumphant return to Spain.

The doors are crafted in the neoclassical style and are notable for their intricate details and symbolism. The depictions of Columbus’s journey are surrounded by ornate frames and decorative elements, showcasing the craftsmanship of the 19th-century sculptor.

The Columbus Doors serve as a prominent and artistic entrance to the United States Capitol, contributing to the historical and cultural significance of the building. They not only commemorate Christopher Columbus but also reflect the 19th-century fascination with exploration, discovery, and the forging of new frontiers. As with many historical monuments, the Columbus Doors have been subject to discussions and debates over time, with some questioning the glorification of Columbus in light of differing perspectives on his impact on indigenous populations in the Americas.


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