Discovery of America
Discovery of America, Sculpture by Luigi Persico
Description: The Discovery of America is a large marble sculptural group, designed by Luigi Persico, that formerly adorned the front of the east façade of the US Capitol building. Originally commissioned by President Martin Van Buren on April 3, 1837, the sculpture was then modeled by Luigi Persico in 1839 before being carved from marble extracted from a quarry between Pisa and Carrara in 1840-1843. The piece was then sent to the United States, where it was exhibited from 1844 to 1958, when it was removed from its place due to mounting public pressure. This sculpture, alongside its companion piece, “The Rescue”, served as a representation of the “discovery” of America and were commissioned in 1836 on the behest of Pennsylvania Senator James Buchanan. However, the aspect of this representation of the discovery was heighted by various, Native American groups in 1941, when they wrote letters to the Architect of the Capitol calling for its removal. To this effect, Montana Representative James Francis O’Connor, who described the included “The Rescue” as an "atrocious distortion of the facts of American history and an insult to [a] great race of people", highlighted his and others’ disgust and dismay at the piece and pushed for its eventual removal. Today, this large marble column, the sculptural group and its companion piece, have been removed, and serve largely as historic pieces, bearing witness to a history that stretches beyond the centuries.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Creator: Luigi Persico
The Discovery of America is a large marble sculptural group, designed by Luigi Persico, that formerly adorned the front of the east façade of the US Capitol building. Originally commissioned by President Martin Van Buren on April 3, 1837, the sculpture w
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