THE ITALIAN FACTOR

IN DEVELOPMEN

Workplan

 

The Italian Factor's estimated production time is projected to be of twenty-four months. The finished product will be of no less than 60 minutes, and in compliance with the highest standards as required by major networks such as PBS. Its targeted audience is in the realm of public and academic libraries with distributors such as Kanopy and Alexander Street Press.

 

Preliminary research has been already conducted to create this proposal, and a tentative budget to produce the documentary film. A tentative Advisory Committee is already in place, and it will be spearheaded by art-historian Michele Bogart and Richard Guy Wilson. Other names in consideration are of Dana Pilson, Donna Hassler, Gwen Peer, Williams Cosby, Jeffrey Plank, Thayer Tolles, Caterina Pierre, Lisa Ackerman, Adrian Benepe, Jonathan Kuhn, Richard Moylan, Susan Menconi, Karen Lemmey, Brian Andersson, Joseph Sciorra, William Sherman. We are also planning to seek advice, and counsel from the American Academy in Rome and the Accademia delle Arti in Florence. 

 

 

The estimated cost of $300,000 is to be raised by Heritage Film Project in collaboration with The Columbus Citizens Foundation, a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian American heritage and achievement.

The Piccirilli Factor is one of twelve 'chapters' in the feature documentary film "Daniel Chester French: American Sculptor", produced by Heritage Film Project in collaboration with Chesterwood and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The film, directed by Eduardo Montes-Bradley was completed in May 2022 in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial.

It was during the production process of  "Daniel Chester French: American Sculptor" that the idea to produce a film about the greater influence and impact of Italian artists had in America during the American Renaicense and beyond.

Synopsis

From the early days of the Republic, sculptors struggled to express the values of the nation into motionless characters, taller than those who pass by at their feet, characters that could relate in a silent language high legend of glory, war, and knowledge. In Baudelaire’s own words, they were aiming to create a garden of public figures “were you the most carefree of men, the unhappiest or the meanest, a beggar or a banker, the stone phantom seizes you for a few instants and orders you, in the name of the past, to think of things which are not of this world.” 

 

Their effort came not without great sacrifice. American sculptors initially relayed on the collaboration with European foundries for their bronzes, stone cutters for monuments made from the blocks of the same marble mined in Carrara since the days of Michelangelo Buonarotti. The raw material was heavy, expensive to transport across the ocean, and it required of the know-how of Italian stone carvers. This dependency on Italian marble and artisans made it so that the early American sculptors needed to be sufficiently resourceful to afford the costs of what clearly was an elitist choice.

 

However, with the arrival to America of several Italian sculptors in the mid-1880s, the dynamics of the trade changed, now propitiating a more efficient and affordable production model in which the local artist could have their monuments rendered faster and at a lower cost. The paradigm change contributed to the fast-growing production of architectural sculptures, as well as private and public commissions for monuments and memorials. This period is what Art and architectural historians like Richard Guy Wilson define as The American Renascence, an age that was made possible by the Italian factor.  

 

The Italian Factor, a documentary by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, will explore these relationships and the influence and legacies of three generations of Italian sculptors, from the families of Giuseppe Piccirilli, and Giuseppe Contini, to prominent individuals such as Gaetano Trentanove, Eduardo Ardolino, Luigi Del Bianco, Raimondo Puccinelli, Roger Morigi, Beniamino Bufano, and most recently the American born actor-sculptor Paul Sorvino.

The Piccirilli 

The Piccirilli was a prolific family of sculptors and stone carvers known for having produced most of the monuments created by Daniel Chester French, including the Lincon Memorial, and having worked with Augustus Saint Gaudens and many other of the great masters of the American Renaicense.   

Piccirilli Brothers at work carving the Barnard south statuary group.jpg

The Contini

The Contini of Rome were master formatori. Among the works cast by the Attilio J.Contini & Sons are the Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Grant Memorial, and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial(Iwo Jima) in Washington, D.C. In New York City they cast Hans Christian Anderson in Central Park and Prometheus in Rockefeller Center. 

The Contini.jpg

Gaetano Trentanove

Trentanove was a Florentine sculptor with a studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. . For the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, Trentanove sculpted the Otriade or Last of the Spartans. Trentanove also created the statue of Daniel Webster for the Daniel Webster Memorial in Washington D.C.

Gaetano Trentanove.jpg