CAPTAIN SMITH BY POCAHONTAS
the 200 years following Smith's Generall Historie, other representations of Pocahontas and the
"rescue" were concocted, but it wasn't until the early 19th
century that her status as a mythic figure took flight. This sandstone carving
in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda is a case in point. By 1825, the rescue of Smith
had been popularized in romantic novels, biographical dictionaries, and dramas
such as The Indian Princess.
It had also been placed within the chain of events leading to the founding of
the American republic, so it seemed a fitting subject for the capitol building.
Sculptor Antonio Capellano made his relief simple and bold to ensure the story
was readily identifiable in the sculpture's location high above the
western door of the rotunda.