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Piccirilli Brothers

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The Piccirilli brothers were an Italian family of renowned marble carvers and sculptors who carved many 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.


USS Maine National Monument, Central Park, NYC, Atillio Piccirilli, sculptor

In 1888, Giuseppe Piccirilli (1844–1910),[1] a well-known stone carver in Massa and a veteran of Garibaldi's Unification war, brought his family to New York City.[2][3][4] Giuseppe, who was born in Rome and received his early training in the atelier of Roman sculptor Stefano Galletti, came from a long line of stone carvers, unbroken since the days of the early Renaissance.[5][6][7] All six of Giuseppe's sons—Ferruccio (1864–1945),[8] Attilio (1866–1945),[9][10] Furio (1868–1949),[11] Masaniello (aka Thomas) (1870–1951),[12] Orazio (aka Horatio, Horace) (1872–1954)[13][14] and Getulio (1874–1945)[15][16]—were trained as marble cutters and carvers.

Although the Piccirilli Brothers were known primarily as architectural modelers and the carvers of other sculptors' works, Attilio and Furio further distinguished themselves as sculptors in their own right.

The family lived in a brownstone on 142nd Street in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx and set up a workshop next to their home that eventually occupied an entire city block.

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

Besides their work as carvers the Piccirilli Brothers also created architectural detailing and embellishments for many public and private buildings.

One of the great losses in American art history occurred when the Piccirilli Brothers studio quietly closed its doors in 1945 and no move was made to secure their records, so the accounts of much of what they had accomplished were lost.

Original sculpture by the Piccirilli Brothers[edit]

Selected works carved for other sculptors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ City of New York, Department of Health, Certificate and Record of Death #448, signed January 21, 1910, Joseph Piccirilli, decedent
  2. ^ Castro, Maria (April 2001). "The Piccirilli Brothers" (PDF). The Bronx Journal. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  3. ^ "Meet the Brothers Behind Building New York Landmarks". The Bespoke Concierge. July 20, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  4. ^ Shelley, Mary & Bill Carroll. "Introduction". Lehman College. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  5. ^ "Sculptor Piccirilli Dead". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 21, 1910. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Lombardo, Josef Vincent (1944). Attilio Piccirilli: Portrait of an American Sculptor. The Ohio State University Fine Arts Library: Pitman Publishing Corporation. p. 7.
  7. ^ City of New York (The Bronx), Department of Health, Certificate and Record of Death of Joseph Piccirilli (1910, certificate 448)
  8. ^ Municipality of Massa Italy, birth registry, 1864 record number 239 for Pilade Attilio Ferruccio Piccirilli
  9. ^ Municipality of Massa Italy, birth registry, 1866 record number 296 for Attilio Regalo Giuseppe Piccirilli
  10. ^ "Attilio Piccirilli, Noted Sculptor, Dies". Poughkeepsie Journal. 9 October 1945. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Municipality of Massa Italy, birth registry, 1868 record number 171 for Furio Camillo Escarcio Tommaso Piccirilli
  12. ^ Municipality of Massa Italy, birth registry, 1870 record number 319 for Masaniello Saviele Giuseppe Piccirilli
  13. ^ Municipality of Massa Italy, birth registry, 1872 record number 370 for Orazio Adriano Giovanni Piccirilli
  14. ^ "H. Piccirilli, 82, Retired Sculptor". The New York Times. 29 June 1954.
  15. ^ Municipality of Massa Italy, birth registry, 1874 record number 701 for Settimio Severo Ugolino Piccirilli (aka Getulio)
  16. ^ "Attilio Piccirilli, Noted Sculptor, Dies". Poughkeepsie Journal. 9 October 1945. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ Kamerling, Bruce (Summer 1989). "Early Sculpture and Sculptors in San Diego". Journal of San Diego History. 35 (3). Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  18. ^ "The Riverside Church" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. May 16, 2000. p. 5.
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 Riverside Church, New York 1931

External links[edit]