The Artist Birthday Series

Constantino Brumidi

Today’s Artist Birthday: Constantino Brumidi

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

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Brumidi was born in Rome, Italy, to his Italian mother and his Greek father, who had emigrated from Filiatra in the province of Messinia, Greece. 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.

Frescoes by the young Brumidi adorn the ceiling of the theatre at the Torloni Palace
Frescoes by the young Brumidi adorn the ceiling of the theatre at the Torloni Palace
Details from the Brumidi frescoes at the Torloni Palace in Rome
Details from the Brumidi frescoes at the Torloni Palace in Rome

Though a proud member of the short-lived “New Roman Republic,” the occupation of Rome by French forces in 1849 apparently persuaded Brumidi to leave his beloved country. He sailed for the United States that same year, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1852. First taking up residence in New York City, the artist painted a number of portraits to earn a living. 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.

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