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The Piccirilli Brothers

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Fifth Avenue,Statues - New York Public Library - Lions, Digital ID 1558545, New York Public LibraryThe Piccirilli Brothers were renowned carvers of many of the most significant marble sculptures in the United States, including Daniel Chester French’s colossal Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

In 1888 Giuseppe Piccirilli (1844-1910), a well-known stone carver, brought his family to New York from Massa, Italy. The entire family, father and six sons – Attilio, Feirrucio, Furio, Getulio (Giulio), Masaniello, and Orazio – were trained as marble cutters and carvers. They lived in a brownstone on 142nd Street in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx and set up a stone-carving atelier next to their home that would eventually occupy an entire city block.

In addition to carving the lions for The New York Public Library, the Piccirilli Brothers carved the six allegorical figures representing History, Romance, Religion, Poetry, Drama, and Philosophy that adorn the Library’s Fifth Avenue facade.

A selection of their other commissions in New York includes: The Four Continents by Daniel Chester French and 12 allegorical statues on the cornice of the U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green; the New York Stock Exchange pediment by J.Q.A. Ward; 30 large allegorical figures for the cornice of the Brooklyn Museum; the Maine Monument in Central Park and the Firemen’s Monument in Riverside Park, both sculpted by Attilio; and an innovative glass relief at Rockefeller Center, also by Attilio.