A statue of Greek-Italian painter Constantino Brumidi – famous for his U.S. Capitol building frescoes – has been raised in Annapolis, MD to honor the great artist.
A bronze statue of the artist was erected at the Brown-Leanos Park at Westgate Circle as a donation to the city from the Foundation of Hellenism of America. The 500-pound statue arrived by air and was placed in Annapolis in late August.
Brumidi (1805–1880) is best known for the murals he painted in the United States Capitol over a 25-year period, including the Apotheosis of Washington, the Frieze of American History and the walls of the Brumidi Corridors.
He also designed and executed murals for other rooms and office spaces. His artistic vision was based on the wall paintings of ancient Rome and Pompeii and on the classical revivals that occurred in the Renaissance and Baroque periods and in the early 19th-century.
Constantino Brumidi was born in Rome in 1805, son of Stavros Broumidis (Σταύρος Μπρουμίδης) from Filiatra and Italian Anna Bianchini. His father had fled from the Ottomans and emigrated to Rome when Italy was not a state yet.
Beginning at age 13, Brumidi studied for 14 years at the Academy of St. Luke and was trained in the full range of painting mediums, including true fresco. He achieved a mastery of the human figure and learned how to create the appearance of three-dimensional forms on flat surfaces, an effect called trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye”).
In 1852, Brumidi emigrated to America and applied for citizenship, which he was granted in 1857. He made a living painting private portrait and domestic commissions as well as painting altarpieces and murals in churches.
In 1854 the artist went to Mexico Holy Trinity in the Mexico City cathedral. On his way back to New York he stopped at Washington D.C. and visited the Capitol. Impressed with the opportunity for decoration presented by its vast interior wall spaces, he offered his services for that purpose and he was given the job.
The painter worked intensively at the U.S. Capitol through the early 1860s and sporadically after 1865, adding murals well into the 1870s. He passed away in 1880 in Washington D.C. and was buried at the Glenwood Cemetery.
In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to be displayed in the Capitol Visitor Center, as part of an exhibit honoring him.