Christopher Columbus (sculpture by Vittori)

Christopher Columbus
Artist Enrico Vittori
Year 1920, renovated 1955
Type Bronze bust on granite pedestal and granite base
Dimensions 344 cm × 200 cm × 190 cm (135.5 in × 80 in × 76 in)
Location Indiana Statehouse, Indianapolis

39°46′4.85″N 86°9′47.45″W / 39.7680139°N 86.1631806°W / 39.7680139; -86.1631806
Owner State of Indiana Department of Administration

Christopher Columbus is a public artwork by Italian artist Enrico Vittori, located on the grounds of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. The sculpted bust of Christopher Columbus sits atop a pedestal that has relief carvings on its front, left and righthand sides. The sculpture was installed by the southwest corner of the Indiana Statehouse in 1920 by members of Italian immigrant communities throughout the state of Indiana.[1] The sculpture stands 135.5 inches high (344 centimeters), has a width of 80 inches (200 centimeters) and a depth of 76 inches (190 centimeters).

Contents

Description

The bust of explorer Christopher Columbus has been cast in bronze.[2] He wears a period costume, and his hair falls at approximately chin length. His facial expression is unsmiling, his chin is raised slightly and his eyes gaze off to his left. Below his left shoulder, the name of the artist is inscribed, E. VITTORI.[2]

Below the bust is a granite pedestal with a plaque and relief carvings underneath.[2] The carving on the front of the pedestal depicts a figure grouping with a man draped in fabric and wearing a crown of laurels standing in the center. His left arm is raised in the air and his right hand rests in front of his waist. To the left and right of this man, three figures of Native Americans are featured, two of whom are kneeling before him; one on either side. The kneeling figure on the Columbus' left is a man, while the two figures on his right are women, one of whom is standing just behind his right shoulder. The relief on the right side of the pedestal depicts a seated woman with her right hand resting on her chest and her left hand on a large anchor; her head is turned to her right. The relief on the left side of the pedestal shows a profile view of a seated woman who is resting her right elbow on a globe. Just below the bottom of the relief sculptures, the pedestal slopes outward to meet a two-stepped granite base.[2] The bust on the Christopher Columbus piece is approximately 39 inches (99 cm) by 23 inches (58 cm) by 29 inches (74 cm), the pedestal is 82 inches (210 cm) by 62 inches (160 cm) by 58 inches (150 cm) and the base is 14.5 inches (37 cm) by 80 inches (200 cm) by 76 inches (190 cm).[3]

The front of the sculpture contains a plaque that states the following:

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
BORN IN GENOA, ITALY 1451. DISCOVERED
AMERICA OCTOBER 12, 1492. THIS LAND
OF OPPORTUNITY AND FREEDOM WAS
THUS PRESERVED FOR HUMANITY BY THE
PERENNIAL GENIUS ABIDING IN THE
ITALIAN RACE.
REFURBISHED BY KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS 1956.[2]

The back of the pedestal has metal lettering attached directly to the granite which reads:

ERECTED A.D. 1920
BY THE ITALIANS
OF INDIANAPOLIS KOKOMO
LOGANSPORT RICHMOND
ETC.[2]

Directly below these words, another plaque has been placed on the pedestal which reads:

THE COLUMBUS QUINCENTENARY JUBILEE
COMMISSION OF INDIANA INC., IN BEHALF
OF INDIANA'S ITALIAN-AMERICAN
COMMUNITY DEDICATES THIS PLAQUE TO
THE CELEBRATION OF THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
COLUMBUS DISCOVERY OF AMERICA
MAY THE GENIUS ABIDING IN THE ITALIAN RACE ENCOURAGE TOLERANCE
AND ACCEPTANCE OF ALL CULTURES AS
AMERICA'S ULTIMATE CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANITY.[2]

Historical information

The sculpture was given to the state by a group of Italian-American citizens living in Indiana.[2] Christopher Columbus is the only monument at the Indiana Statehouse donated by immigrants, and it was intended by the Italians to be a tribute to America.[4] It stood unchanged for 35 years until 1955 when the Knights of Columbus funded the cleaning of the bronze bust, as well as the addition of new bronze lettering on the back of the pedestal.[5] The sculpture was modified once again in 1992 during the Columbus Quincentenary, which celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to America. The Knights of Columbus installed a plaque bearing another statement about Christopher Columbus, bringing the total number of written statements on the pedestal to three.[5]

Christopher Columbus was created by Enrico (Harry) Vittori, an Italian artist who lived in Indianapolis.[1][4] Vittori attended the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy and traveled to Indianapolis in 1919 to work for an airplane company.[6]

Location history

Christopher Columbus was installed on the Indiana Statehouse lawn shortly after its completion and has not been moved or viewed in any other location.[2] However, the initial proposal for the sculpture requested that the piece be erected in one of the Indianapolis parks, and the location of "University Square" was listed as a potential site for the monument.[6]

Acquisition

Christopher Columbus was made possible by a fundraising campaign undertaken by Vincent A. LaPenta, a surgeon and scientist who presided over the executive committee of Italian Propaganda.[7] The installation was performed by various members of the Italian community living in Indiana and was dedicated on October 31, 1920 by governor James P. Goodrich.[7] Vincent A. LaPenta spoke at the dedication ceremony and stated, "Columbus can be considered humanity's greatest benefactor."[4] The sculpture was accepted as a gift[1] and is currently owned by the State of Indiana's Department of Administration.[2]

Condition

Christopher Columbus was cleaned in 1992[5] and surveyed once more in 1994 as part of the Save Outdoor Sculpture! project.[2] The overall condition was rated as "good", but it was determined that the sculpture would benefit from conservation treatment.[8] In particular, the piece suffered from metallic staining, erosion, green caulking on the pedestal, and bird guano.[8]

See also

  • Hendricks Monument
  • List of public art at the Indiana Statehouse

References

  1. ^ a b c Grieff, Glory-June. (2005) Remembrance, faith and fancy: outdoor public sculpture in Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. p 165.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smithsonian American Art Museum Art Inventories Catalog. “Christopher Columbus, (sculpture)”. http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=12K0124F60B95.14570&profile=ariall&uri=link=3100006~!308369~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=Browse&menu=search&ri=2&source=~!siartinventories&term=Vittori%2C+Enrico%2C+sculptor.&index=AUTHOR Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  3. ^ Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center. “Christopher Columbus, (sculpture)”. http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=enrico+vittori Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Divita, James J. (7 January 1994). “Christopher Columbus Monument, State House”. Marian College (Indianapolis).
  5. ^ a b c National Italian American Foundation. “Tributes to Christopher Columbus in the United States”. http://wwww.niaf.org/research/report_columbus.asp Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  6. ^ a b Unknown author (17 June 1919). “Indianapolis Italians to Offer City Monument to Christopher Columbus”. Indianapolis News (Indianapolis).
  7. ^ a b Public Art Indianapolis. “Map”. http://www.publicartindianapolis.org/pal.aspx. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  8. ^ a b Wilgus, Sue Ann (9 December 1993). “SOS! Survey Questionnaire”. National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property (Washington, D.C.).

External links


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