The Minnesota Quadriga
Above the southern entrance to the Minnesota state capital building is a gilded quadriga called “The Progress of the State”. The golden statues by Daniel Chester French and Edward Clark Potter were hammered out of sheet metal, riveted together over steel construction, covered with copper and overlaid with gold leaf. The work was completed and raised to the roof of the capitol in 1906. David Chester French is probably better remembered for his depiction of a seated Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The Minnesota State Capital Quadriga is unique for being entirely covered in gold leaf. In 1994 and 1995, the statues underwent a restoration procedure which included replacing the gold leaf on the figures. The quadriga arrangement’s origins can be traced back to the Roman republic. The four horses represent the elements earth, wind, fire and water. The women leading the horses symbolize industry and agriculture. The male charioteer represents prosperity. He holds high a variation of a Roman Legion standard with the word MINNESOTA inscribed in large, friendly letters.