Ceres ascends rightful place atop State House Dome

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Ceres ascends rightful place atop State House Dome

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 4:45pm -- tim

Ceres waits to be lifted to the top of the State House Friday. Photos by Vermont Business Magazine.

Vermont Business Magazine The statue of Ceres rose atop the Vermont State House Dome in Montpelier just after noon today. In Roman mythology, Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships and an important deity in classical times. As described by Montpelier native Senator Patrick Leahy, the new version of Ceres replaces a 1938 replica of the original statue that was removed last April after too many severe Vermont winters took a toll on the wood figure. Since that time, Vermont artists Jerry Williams and Chris Miller have been hard at work creating the new Ceres, first sculpting a model and then chiseling the final mahogany figure.

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) On A New Ceres For The Vermont State House Dome on the Senate Floor November 27, 2018

This Friday, November 30, at the Noon hour, Vermonters will be gathering to see a large crane carefully hoist a 14-and-a-half-foot carved statue of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, atop the newly gilded dome of the Vermont State House in Montpelier.  It will be a proud moment for our state, and for everyone involved in a project which has captured not only the attention of Vermonters, but of those who have been following this project from great distances, with the help of social media.

The new version of Ceres replaces a 1938 replica of the original statue that was removed last April after too many severe Vermont winters took a toll on the wood figure. Since that time, Vermont artists Jerry Williams and Chris Miller have been hard at work creating the new Ceres, first sculpting a model and then chiseling the final mahogany figure, respectively.

Marcelle and I and my sister Mary had the pleasure of visiting the Vermont Granite Museum in Barre, Vermont, a few months back to witness Mr. Miller at work. As the grandson of a stone carver, I was enthralled to see how he used the original tools of the trade to transform raw wood into the fine details that we now see – from Ceres’ flowing robes, to the distinctive veins in her hands.

Both artists learned their techniques by studying in the studios of Barre’s stone carvers.  It is a specialized art that requires intense dedication, patience, skill and practice, and we are so fortunate that artists such as these are carrying on a tradition that makes Vermonters proud.

I grew up in a home across the street from the Vermont State House, where Ceres was always in our sights.   She is a strong figure, one that befits a state where farming and soil and hard work are so closely linked to our lives.  Seeing the State House without Ceres has been odd for those who have grown accustomed to her presence.  This Vermonter, and all Vermonters, will be glad to have her back.

I ask that (the) November 10 article from the Barre, Vermont, Times Argus, profiling these two sculptors, be entered into the Record.