Un appello alla comunita italo-americana di New York
Original letter on George The Atheist's blog.
Here is a photograph of the distinguished New York City-based Italian immigrant Piccirilli Brothers, master stone carvers of some of our town's and the country's greatest monuments. You can read about their illustrious history and artistic accomplishments here. Famed for carving the New York Public Library's iconic lions, the U.S.S. Maine Monument at the entrance to Central Park, statuary on the NY Stock Exchange and the United States Capitol. They carved the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. They worked with the greatest American architects and sculptors of their day: Carrère and Hastings, Daniel Chester French, Stanford White, et al.
They also collaborated with the renowned sculptor Frederick MacMonnies on the work of the statuary grouping known as "Civic Virtue" ("Virtu Civiche") - an artistic allegory depicting the conquering of Vice and Corruption in governmental affairs. This work of art was situated next to Queens Borough Hall for decades. Its tortured history can be read here.
It was moved from its original emplacement outside of City Hall in Manhattan because the then Mayor, a veritable artistic ignoramus (un vero ignorante artistico), Fiorello LaGuardia, it is said, could not stand looking at the statue's culo. A person who hated his own heritage! So it was shipped off to the "hinterlands" of Queens where it stood totally neglected, non-maintained, and exposed to the elements. This was the thanks that the great Italian-American Piccirilli Brothers were given by the civic authorities for the brothers' magnificent artistic endeavors. The statue stood there, ignored, unmaintained, and unloved through the years. But to make matters worse, the ignominy of Political Correctness (Corretezza Politica) reared its ugly head.
The statue was considered demeaning to women!! Why? It was alleged that the Conqueror, Civic Virtue, was slaying 2 women in the guise of snakes. Pandering-to-the public politicians, with nothing else to do, paraded in front of it demanding that it be sold off on CraigsList: here is the House of Representatives disgraced sex-pervert Anthony Weiner, opining on its merits. (If you look carefully, you can see, the ineffective Ann Jawin of the Center for the Women of New York, standing under her umbrella, like a Bobble-head doll, nodding in agreement.) -
There you have it folks. The statue, a sterling example of Italian-American artisanry, has been castigated instead of honored. What is its message? It champions "civic virtue" - something that that should be lauded and not despised. Its future has yet to be written. Help write it.
A slap in the face to Italian-American endeavor?
An insult to the legacy of the Italian-American community?
It is time to wake up! It is time for action!
Don't let them steal it from you. Fix it! Honor your ancestry!
ALL HAIL TO THE ILLUSTRIOUS PICCIRILLIS! / TUTTA LA GRANDINE AL PICCIRILLIS ILLUSTRE!