1899
Piccirilli Brothers stone carvers for the generations. Their many works include the Lincoln Memorial.


The art of carving and sculpturing marble and stones was one of the more unique gifts Italians brought to the United States. This is well illustrated by the life and work of the six Piccirilli brothers who were born in Tuscany and came to America in 1888. Having learned their craft from their father Giuseppe, they were all considered master marble carvers with special talent for sculpting. For more than a half century, the Piccirilli brothers operated studios in the Bronx, New York, where they lived and where they were soon recognized worthy successors to their Italian ancestors. The studio became a Mecca for artists and celebrities-August Saint-Gaudens and Enrico Caruso were said to be frequent visitors. Whereas American sculptors previously sent their plaster casts to Italy to be carved, now many jobs were commissioned to the Piccirillis.

The Piccirillis did a great deal of work for noted sculptor Daniel Chester French, including the imposing 150 ton figure of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. that was completed over a period of four years in 1922. In New York City their work adorns the entrance to the United States Customs House, the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Maine Memorial in Central Park, the Firemen's Memorial in Riverside Park, and lions that flank the entrance to the New York Public Library. A friend of Fiorello LaGuardia, Attilio Piccirilli sculpted the LaGuardia Grave Memorial. The Piccirilli brothers established a reputation that rendered the United States receptive to Italian artists as part of continuity with the fine arts of western civilization. Thus there was a place for other sculptors including Onorio Ruotolo, who, together with Attilio Picirilli, co-founded the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York.

Lincoln Memorial
Fountain at Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.




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