The figures of little boys on the staircase are known as “putti” in Italian Renaissance art and represent the various occupations and pursuits of contemporary American life when the Jefferson Building was completed in 1897.
• A Mechanic, with a cogwheel, a pair of pincers, and a crown of laurel, signifies the triumphs of invention.
• A Hunter, with his gun, holds a rabbit by the ears.
• An infant Bacchanalian, with Bacchus’s grape vines and panther, joyously holds a champagne glass in one hand.
• A Farmer holds a sickle and a sheaf of wheat.