I spent the last ten days documenting some of Piccirilli’s works in New York City and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. With temperatures ranging within reasonable, the weather played in our favor as I moved the tripod and camera around to capture Attilio Piccirilli’s pediment at The Frick Collection by the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza where Orazio Piccirilli worked on the ornamental decorations, at the Fireman’s Memorial in Riverside, the US Maine Memoria, and Waldo Hutchins Bench in Central Park. I was also able to film the often-forgotten monument to the 7th Regiment Memorial by John Quincy Adams War, which seats on a pedestal built by Casoni & Isola in Central Park West. Casoni & Isola are a recent discovery for me, and they have now been incorporated to The Italian Factor as part of the ongoing relationship between Italian artists and public art in America during the 1800s.
I am also pleased to announce that The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, an independent non-profit foundation based in New York City, has approved a grant to extend my research to the works of the Piccirilli Studio beyond New York and Washington DC, particularly the two monumental sculptural groups at the State Capitol in Harrisburg were I briefly stop to admire the work on my way back to Virginia Yesterday. The groups, designed by George Grey Barnard in Paris, are “Love and Labor: The Unbroken Law” and “The Burden of Life: The Broken Law”.
The Italian Factor | On The Road
These are monumental works of art, beautifully conceived and masterly executed. However, while standing up close, one can’t help but wonder about the absurdity of the plaster covering the genitalia of the nude figures. Further reading last night showed that such patchwork was an imposition after the facts and that Getulio, the youngest of the Piccirilli brothers, had the frustrating experience of having to please the Neanderthals who had previously attempted to dress the male figures in short pants.
While in New York, I was gifted with an extraordinary surprise: The temporary custody of more than 150 photos from Attilio Piccirilli’s collection. This long-lost treasure has been under wraps since the Piccirilli Studio in the Bronx was dismantled in late 1940. Further updates on this blog will include some pearls that make up the treasure as we move along, cataloging and scanning one image at a time.