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 fisherman, with rod and reel, taking a fish from a hook.
• A Little Mars (the Roman god of war), polishing his helmet.
• A chemist, with a blowpipe.
• A cook, with a pot hot from the fire.