Italian-American painter Constantino Brumidi was born in Rome on this day in 1805. The son of a Greek café owner and Italian mother, Brumidi studied at the Accademia di San Luca from age 13 to 27. He worked in Rome until 1851, at which time he was imprisoned for suspected revolutionary activities. He was released on the condition that he leave the country, and he set sail for America, arriving in New York in September 1852. As he had in Rome, he decorated a number of churches in the United States, Mexico, and Cuba, but he is probably best known for his frescoes in the U.S. Capitol, including the dome fresco showing the Apotheosis of George Washington (1865), which earned him the nickname “Michelangelo of the United States Capitol.”

For more on Brumidi see: Barbara Ann Boese Wolanin. “Brumidi, Constantino.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. [].

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