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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.


U.S.S. Maine National Monument, Central Park NYC, Atillio Piccirilli, sculptor

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 City from Massa in the province of Massa Carrara, in Tuscany, Italy. The entire family, father and six sons—Ferruccio (1864–19??), Attilio (1866–1945), Furio (1868–1949), Masaniello (1870–1951), Orazio (Horatio) (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, Attilio and Furio would further distinguish 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 would eventually occupy an entire city 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 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 and no move was made to secure their records, so the accounts of much of what they had accomplished was lost.

Original sculpture by the Piccirilli BrothersEdit

Selected works carved for other sculptorsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kamerling, Bruce (Summer 1989). "Early Sculpture and Sculptors in San Diego". Journal of San Diego History. 35 (3). Retrieved 4 January 2017.
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

External linksEdit