Monday, October 8, 2012

"Mother Italy" Sculpture at Hunter College Campus

Mother Italy, (c 1953) is a work created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Massari located on the Hunter College campus at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue. The bronze sculpture measures 9' wide and 7' high. The plaque at the base reads: "Dedicated to the Italian immigrant....symbolic of mothers of every nationality who sent their children to build a nation of immigrants, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the equality of all those who came, and of those yet to come."

Italia is the central figure "always young and vibrant. " She embraces two female figures who represent the musical and theatrical arts, fields in which Italians have distinguished themselves. To the right is a monk who represents the religious qualities of Italians, and religion's concern for humanity symbolized by a woman and child. To the left is a man carrying a pick, the tool of -the laborer. His features symbolize the indomitable spirit of the Italian workingman in the United States. The child at his side stands for the American-born children of the Italian immigrant, who through education have made innumerable contributions to their native country. At either end of the group is a bust, of Columbus, who personifies the age of the Italian explorer, and a bust of Roma, representing the universality of spirit in the arts and the law to which Italy has contributed so greatly.

At the base of the group has an inscription engraved into it that reads: "The contribution of the Italian labor and thought to the development of American life." Also in base relief are a radio antenna symbolizing the achievements of the inventor, Guilermo Marconi, and subway cars representing the subway systems of the United States built by some of the first Italian immigrants. Also to be seen are symbols of Italy's contribution to such diverse fields as horticulture and sports. The sports symbols are found on the reverse side of the sculpture and depict boxing, cycling, boating and aviation. The description of the culpture is from Italy Culture Month website.

Happy Columbus Day!

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