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Smith Building ceiling 1

Smith Building ceiling 2

Smith Building ceiling 3

Smith Building ceiling 4

And one floor photo...

Smith Building ceiling 5

Gawking at the ceiling of the Smith Building

Smith Building ceiling 2

As we've noted before, the Smith Building stands across from the Capitol all buttoned up and dressed for work its quietly tasteful way for work. But start talking to it, and it's like finding out the guy in accounting you've never seen without a tie also paints watercolors on the weekend.

We took a few minutes this week to duck into the Smith Building lobby to admire the ceiling there. Yep, the ceiling. The top of the arched space includes a series of roughly 30 portraits of all sorts of famous New Yorkers ranging from Chester A. Arthur to Philip Schuyler to Robert Fulton to Theodore Roosevelt to Walt Whitman. (Check with the front desk -- they might have a sheet telling showing who's where.)

Here are a few more pics in large format if you'd like to gawk.

Look up, photos are at the top -- click or scroll all the way up.

The artist who created the murals is David Cunningham Lithgow, an immigrant from Scotland also painted the the Albany historical murals in Milne Hall on UAlbany's downtown campus and designed the Spanish-American War Memorial in Townsend Park. Here's more on both Lithgow and the murals.

The Smith Building was completed in 1928 and it's a product of its time, architecturally and otherwise -- of the 30some people featured in a portrait not a single one is a woman or person of color.


Totally agree, noticed this years ago before a training session for civil service monitors, SO GORGEOUS!

Is that the Alfred E. Smith building on State St.?

So sad that we the public who build these beautiful structures cannot really incorporate them into our daily lives. Sure you can go on a one hour tour but you cannot interact with them on a daily basis and sense the beauty that humble people from Albany NY can achieve. We the peasants have to settle for strip mall America with a never ending highway of prefab buildings and fast food take out....such a pity.....and we wonder why so many people need Prozac!

Is this area accessible by the public? I would like to visit and check it out.

@Dave: Correct.

@Sean: The lobby is accessible to the public during business hours. And if you check with the security desk they might have a print out describing all those ceiling portraits and their locations.

Thanks for posting these photos and for confirming that we can get in to see the real thing in person.

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