The Italian-American painter Constantino Brumidi was born in Rome on this day in 1805.

By Anne Leader

The Italian-American painter Constantino Brumidi was born in Rome on this day in 1805. Brumidi studied at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome from age 13 to 27. He continued to work there 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.”

In 2008, Brumidi was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his work on the Capitol frescoes.

Brumidi medal designed by Don Everhart

Reference: Barbara Ann Boese Wolanin. “Brumidi, Constantino.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T011750.

Portrait of Constantino Brumidi

Apotheosis of George Washington, 1865, fresco, US Capitol Dome, Washington DC

Portrait of Constantino Brumidi with palette, ca. 1860-65

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