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The Italian Factor

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Part of the Count Guerra Memorial in Massa Carrara
The Angel, 1886 by Attilio Piccirilli

The Italian Factor |An Introduction | Written in collaboration with Lisa Ackerman

The 1800s in America were defined by great excitement, turmoil, and expansion. As the nation neared the end of the century, the push for a unified narrative celebrating the centennial of its independence and the unprecedented prosperity brought with it a flourishing of public works that included monuments redefining the urban landscape, creating a sense of pride, and signaling that America was a strong, forward-looking country.

These monuments were often modeled in plaster and clay by native sculptors and executed in Europe by Italian sculptors familiar with the traditional techniques that endured from ancient Greece and Rome and rekindled in the Renaissance.

However, the practice of modeling the sculptures and monuments in America and completing them in Rome and Florence was about to change with the arrival of Italian artists to the New World.

Amongst the most prominent names was that of the Piccirilli Brothers, whose remarkable talents have yet to be recognized.

The Italian Factor explores the Piccirilli’s quest for excellence and the profound impact of their legacy in American Art.

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