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Constantino Brumidi

Constantino Brumidi

Constantino Brumidi (July 26, 1805 – February 19, 1880) was an Greek-Italian-American historical painter, best known and honored for his fresco work in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.


  • Parentage and early life 1
  • Immigration and following work 2
  • In memoriam 3
  • Gallery 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Parentage and early life

Brumidi was born in Rome, his father a Greek from Filiatra in the province of Messinia, Greece, and his mother an Italian. He showed his talent for fresco painting at an early age and painted in several Roman palaces, among them being that of Prince Torlonia. Under Gregory XVI he worked for three years in the Vatican.

Immigration and following work

Grave of Constantino Brumidi, his wife, his son, and his in-laws at Glenwood Cemetery.

The Roman Republic, and he sailed for the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1852. Taking up his residence in New York City, the artist painted a number of portraits. Subsequently he undertook more important works, the principal being a fresco of the Crucifixion in St. Stephen's Church, for which he also executed a Martyrdom of St. Stephen and an Assumption of Mary. He also executed frescoes at Taylor's Chapel, Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1854 Brumidi went to Mexico, where he painted an allegorical representation of the 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 to Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs. This offer was accepted, and about the same time Meigs was commissioned as a captain of cavalry.

His first art work in the American history. His work in the rotunda was left unfinished at his death, but he had decorated many other sections of the building, most notably hallways in the Senate side of the Capitol now known as the Brumidi Corridors.

Brumidi's Liberty and Union paintings are mounted near the ceiling of the White House entrance hall.

In the Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he pictured St. Peter and St. Paul. Brumidi was a capable, if conventional painter, and his black and white modeling in the work at Washington, in imitation of bas-relief, is strikingly effective. He decorated the entrance hall of Saleaudo, located at Frederick, Maryland, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1]

A Brumidi fresco appears behind the altar in St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Another, of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga receiving communion from Saint Charles Borromeo, hangs over the high altar of St Aloysius Church in Washington, D.C.

In memoriam

Brumidi died in Washington, D.C., and was interred at Glenwood Cemetery. When he was buried, his grave was unmarked. The location of Brumidi's grave was lost for 72 years. It was rediscovered, and on February 19, 1952, a marker was finally placed above it.[2]

Forgotten for many years, Brumidi's role was rescued from obscurity by Myrtle Cheney Murdock.[3]

On June 10, 2008, Congress passed, and on September 1, 2008, President George W. Bush signed, Public Law 110-59 (122 Stat. 2430), which posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Constantino Brumidi, to be displayed in the Capitol Visitor Center, as part of an exhibit honoring him.[4]



  • (Italian)Constantino Brumidi: Il Michelangelo Del Capitol - Dossena, Tiziano Thomas, L'Idea Magazine N.24, Vol.II, 2005, New York

External links

  • Wolanin, Barbara A. (1998). Constantino Brumidi: artist of the Capitol. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. 
  1. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". National Register of Historic Places: Properties in Frederick County. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-12-14. 
  2. ^ Clark, Elizabeth G. "Report of the Chronicler for 1952." Records of the Columbia Historical Society. 51/52 (1951/1952), pp. 181-209, 186.
  3. ^ Brumidi study of Capitol dome painting to go to Smithsonian Washington Post
  4. ^ Pub.L. 110–259


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