(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘statue

“Immigrants, we get the job done”*…

When the Piccirilli Brothers arrived in New York from Italy in 1888, they brought with them skill, artistry, and passion for stone-carving unrivaled in the United States. At their studio at 467 East 142nd Street, in the Mott Haven Section of the Bronx, the brothers turned monumental slabs of marble into some of the nation’s recognizable icons, including the senate pediment of the US Capitol Building and the statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits resolutely in the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall.

The Piccirillis not only helped set our national narrative in stone but they also left an indelible mark on New York City. They carved hundreds of commissions around the five boroughs, including the 11 figures in the pediment of the New York Stock exchange, the “four continents” adorning the Customs House at Bowling Green, the two stately lions that guard the New York Public Library, both statues of George Washington for the Arch at Washington Square, and upwards of 500 individual carvings at Riverside Church…

The remarkable story of a remarkable family: “How six Italian immigrants from the South Bronx carved some of the nation’s most iconic sculptures.” 

* Lin-Manuel Miranda (as Hamilton, to Lafayette in Hamilton)

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As we celebrate sculpture, we might wish a grateful Happy Birthday to another son of Italy, Galileo Galilei, the physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who, with Francis Bacon, pioneered the Scientific Method; he was born on this date in 1564.  It was Galileo’s observations that gave conclusive support to Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the solar system.

Tintoretto’s portrait of Galileo

  source

“It’s not the end of Western Civilization. It’s chewing gum.”*…

 

Santa Anna

Antonio López de Santa Anna in his days as a dashing soldier, before his unglamorous exile

 

Two years before he died senile and broke, the disgraced Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna lived in a modest residence in Staten Island. Known variously as the executioner of hundreds at The Alamo, the man who lost Texas, and “His Most Serene Highness” and “The Eagle,” Santa Anna was missing a leg and had recently been conned out of tens of thousands of pesos. He spent his exile moving among high society, plotting to get rich or return to Mexico, and chewing on something called chicle.

Santa Anna hoped that his supply of chicle, a natural latex harvested from trees in the same fashion as rubber, would make him rich. He’d pitched Thomas Adams, a local inventor, on developing this foreign substance into an inexpensive replacement for rubber. It never worked. But after he left for Mexico for the final time, dumping his chicle on Adams, it became something else: the first modern chewing gum…

He captured the Alamo, lost Texas, and helped invent Tutti Frutti: “How a Mexican General’s Exile in Staten Island Led to Modern Chewing Gum.”

* Jerry Springer (defending his television show)

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As we’re careful not to swallow, we might recall that it was on this date in 2012, in the final week of that year’s Texas State Fair, that “Big Tex,” a 55-foot tall statue, marketing icon, and traditional meeting place at the Fair since 1952, was destroyed by fire.  (It was replaced by an updated replica the following year.)

200px-Big-tex-1956 source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 19, 2019 at 1:01 am

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