Abbott Handerson Thayer - Minerva in a Chariot - oil on canvas - ca. 1894 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum
In 1894, Abbott Thayer won a commission to create a large mosaic panel of the goddess Minerva for the Library of Congress, and he painted this oil sketch before executing the final version in glass. He was to receive $4000 for the completed project, but engineers and architects at the library quickly grew frustrated with Thayer’s unwillingness to comply with their instructions. After years of argument, the commission was given to another prominent muralist, Elihu Vedder. His Minerva now presides over the landing of what was once the library’s main staircase.