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Progress of the State

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Title: Progress of the State  
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Subject: Edward Clark Potter, Steel sculptures in Minnesota, Copper sculptures in the United States, Quadriga, History of Saint Paul, Minnesota
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Progress of the State

The Progress of the State quadriga at the base of the Minnesota State Capitol dome.

Progress of the State is the title of a group of sculptural figures that sits above the south portico, at the main entrance to the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, the state capital of the U.S. state of Minnesota.

The statuary group is in an arrangement known as a quadriga, consisting of a chariot pulled by four horses. Three human figures: two women and a man are included. The sculpture, made by Daniel Chester French and Edward Clark Potter, was completed and raised to the roof of the capitol in 1906. The underlying armature is steel covered in copper. The exterior copper surface is gilded in gold leaf. This quadriga is unique in that it sits atop a building's portico, rather than upon a triumphal arch like most others.

The quadriga arrangement is an ancient style of statue originating more than 2000 years ago in the Roman Republic. The four horses represent the classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Independently, the women represent industry and agriculture. Collectively, they represent civilization. The male charioteer represents prosperity. He holds aloft a variation of a Roman Legion standard inscribed with the state name MINNESOTA.

In 1994 the group was taken down from the capitol roof for a year-long restoration procedure. The quadriga was reinstalled in 1995 and the figures have had several minor in situ reapplications of gold leaf since.

On September 23, 2014, the charioteer was lowered to allow for repairs to the Chariot. This work is expected to last 3 months. An ongoing comprehensive restoration of the State Capitol building is expected to be completed in 2017.

A closeup of the horses

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