Statement of Significance (as of designation - January 3, 2001):
The Wisconsin State Capitol is nationally significant as an excellent example of Renaissance Revival architecture, as interpreted through American Beaux-Arts sensibilities. Reflecting the aesthetic of an era spanning from the late nineteenth into the early twentieth century, the building is a premier example of the American Beaux-Arts and also represents a national movement to construct monumental state capitols patterned after the National Capitol in Washington. As with the best examples of governmental buildings, the vocabulary of form was derived from buildings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods of European architecture, yet the classically derived iconography of the Wisconsin State Capitol has been given a regional theme. Classical wreaths and garlands of oak leaves provide a prominent motif in the corridors and a celebration of the bounty of mining, agriculture and Wisconsins waterways is depicted in the murals and sculptural program. The Capitol is a seminal and highly intact example of the architectural values that underpin the American Beaux-Arts tradition.