The East Pediment

The Bronze Doors

"Out of all of our monumental projects, spread over two lifetimes, the Supreme Court doors are the only work that we ever signed - that's how important they were."
JOHN DONNELLY, Jr., Sculptor
In designing the Supreme Court Building, architect Cass Gilbert utilized a classically inspired entrance procession to the Courtroom. The bronze doors, centered behind the massive columns of the front portico, signify the importance of the proceedings that occur within the Courtroom. The oversized doors measure 17 feet high and 9 ½ feet wide, and weigh approximately 13 tons.

The doors were designed by Gilbert and John Donnelly, Sr. and sculpted by his son, John Donnelly, Jr. Each door is made up of four bas-reliefs which represent significant events in the evolution of justice according to Western tradition in chronological order. The thematic sequence begins on the lower left panel, moves up to the top of the door then continues on the bottom right panel and concludes on the upper right corner.

Read more (PDF)