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Site of the Piccirilli Studios, A Place That Matters

giuseppe piccirilli and six sons

Piccirilli Studios at 471 E. 142nd St., in Mott Haven, The Bronx, nominated by Mary Shelley Carroll.

Giuseppe Piccirilli and his six sons — Attilio, Furio, Ferrucio, Getulio, Masaniello, and Orazio — opened two sculpting and stone carving studios near their home in the Bronx not long after their arrival from Italy in the late 1880s. Their carving skills were so superior to the local talent that they quickly earned a reputation as masters of their craft, receiving commissions from distinguished sculptors like Daniel Chester French.

Several of the brothers also proved themselves to be artists and sculptors in their own right. Just a few of their works include the Maine Monument at Columbus Circle, the lions at the New York Public Library (nominated to Place Matters by Saskia Levy), the pediment of the New York Stock Exchange, the Firemen’s Memorial in Riverside Park, statues on the facades of the Brooklyn Museum and the Custom House, wonderful tombs at Woodlawn Cemetery, the glass block bas relief and “Commerce and Industry” sculpture at Rockefeller Center, and the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Although the studios are gone, Bronx residents Bill and Mary Carroll successfully petitioned to rename the block where the studios once stood Piccirilli Place, and helped to establish a permanent photo exhibition of their work at the Mott Haven Library.

Watch later this year for a new publication about the talented family, Freeing the Angel from the Stone; A Guide to Piccirilli Sculpture in New York City, by Jerry and Eleanor Koffler, to be published by the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College.