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Study of a Head
Attilio Piccirilli (American (born Italy), Massa Carrara 1866–1945 New York)
1912–13, cast by 1918
12 x 6 3/4 x 9 in. (30.5 x 17.1 x 22.9 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1919
In 1912 Piccirilli and the architect H. Van Buren were commissioned to design a memorial to the firemen of New York City who had given their lives in the line of duty. The monument at Riverside Drive and 100th Street was dedicated the following year. It consists of a large sarcophagus-shaped block faced with marble, flanked at the ends by two marble allegorical groups representing Courage and Duty. A woman cradling the body of a dying fireman portrays Courage; Duty is personified by a seated young woman reacting stoically to the tragedy suggested by the fireman’s helmet held on her lap and the nude young boy sheltered with her left arm. The Metropolitan Museum’s bronze is a study of the head of Duty.
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