In its rotunda is Jean Antoine Houdon's full-length marble statue of Washington, provided for by the Virginia General Assembly in 1784, and erected in 1796; its base bears a fine inscription written by James Madison.
In a niche is a Houdon bust of Lafayette, a replica of the original presented to the city of Paris by the state of Virginia.
JEAN ANTOINE HOUDON (1740-1828), French sculptor, was born at Versailles on the 18th of March 1740.
peopled the gardens of Versailles rather than by the lessons of his masters, delighted Pope Clement XIV., who, on seeing the St Bruno executed by Houdon for the church of St Maria degli Angeli, said "he would speak, were it not that the rules of his order impose silence."
In Italy Houdon had lived in the presence of that second Renaissance with which the name of Winckelmann is associated, and the direct and simple treatment of the Morpheus which he sent to the Salon of 1771 bore witness to its influence.