Piccirilli Brothers

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The Piccirilli Brothers were a family of renowned marble carvers and sculptors who carved a large number of the most significant marble sculptures in the United States, including Daniel Chester French’s colossal Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

History[edit]

In 1888, Giuseppe Piccirilli (1844-1910), a well-known stone carver and a veteran of Garibaldi's Unification war, brought his family to New York from Massa di Carrara, in Tuscany, Italy. The entire family, father and six sons—Ferruccio (1864- ), Attilio (1866-1945), Furio (1868-1949), Masaniello (1870-1951), Orazio (1872-1954) and Getulio (1874-1956)—were trained as marble cutters and carvers.

Although the Piccirilli Brothers were known primarily as architectural modelers and the carvers of other sculptors’ works, both Attilio and Furio developed names for themselves as sculptors independent of the family.

The family lived at 467 East 142nd Street in the Bronx and set up their workshop next to their home. Over the years their atelier grew until it eventually had encompassed the whole block.

At that time most prominent sculptors would create their original work in clay. From that clay model a caster would generate a plaster model. The model would then be sent to the Piccirilli Brothers who would carve it from stone, typically marble, although limestone and granite were also used. The brothers became the carvers of choice for a large number of American sculptors of the time including Daniel Chester French and Paul Wayland Bartlett.

Besides their work as carvers the Piccirilli Brothers also modeled vast amounts of architectural detailing and embellishments for a large number of public and private buildings.

One of the great losses in American art history occurred when the Piccirilli Brothers studio quietly closed it doors and no move was made to secure their records, so the accounts of much of what they had accomplished was lost.

The Maine Memorial, Central Park NYC, Atillio Piccirilli, sculptor

Original sculpture by the Piccirilli Brothers[edit]

Selected works carved for other sculptors[edit]

One of the two lions at the entrance to the New York Public Library.

References[edit]

West Gate in Balboa Park. These figures representing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are the work of Furio Piccirilli.
  • Baker, Marilyn, Manitoba’s Third Legislative Building: Symbols in Stone: The At and Politics of a Public Building, Hyperion Press Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba 1986
  • Balfour, Alan, Rockefeller Center – Architecture As Theater, McGraw-Hill Book Company, NY, NY 1978
  • Bogart, Michele H., Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal in New York City: 1890-1930, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1989
  • Contemporary American Sculpture Issued for the Exhibition held by the National Sculpture Society in Cooperation with the Trustees of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, MCMXXIX, National Sculpture Society, NY 1929
  • Gardner, Albert Ten Eyck, American Sculpture: A catalogue of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1965
  • Kvaran, Einar Einarsson and Walt Lockley, Guide to Architectural Sculpture in America, unpublished manuscript
  • Lombardo, Josef Vincent, Atilio Piccirilli: Life of an American Sculptor, Pitman Publishing Corporation, New York 1944
  • Reynolds, Donald Martin, Monuments and Masterpieces; Histories and views of Public Sculpture in New York City, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York 1988
  • Somma, Thomas P. The Apotheosis of Democracy, 1908-1916: The Pediment for the House Wing of the United States Capitol, University of Delaware Press, Newark 1995
  • The Riverside Church in the City of New York: A Handbook of the Institution and Its Buildings, The Rivrsude Church, New York 1931

See also[edit]

External links[edit]