Constantino Brumidi
Constantino Brumidi Press Release 

Authentic canvas and other copies from the original paintings and murals by Constantino Brumidi, 1805-1880, have been authorized for reproduction by The Church of Our Lady of the Scapular and St. Stephens in New York City.  The canvases represent the finest possible reproductions of the newly restored art work, now available, through utilization of the Giclee’ process.  St. Stephen’s Church is home to the largest collection of Brumidi’s art work outside of the U S Capitol Building.

Some 43 murals and paintings occupy the ceilings and walls of St. Stephen. One of his most fascinating and spiritually engulfing murals is the largest crucifixion mural (22 ft x 44 ft.) in the United States.  Located behind the altar, an unusual aspect of his work is the placement of Mary Magdalene in the center of the mural, directly beneath the Crucifixion.  Recognized not only as the last of the Great Baroque Artists, Constantino Brumidi was also an expert in trompe l’oeil, “trick of the eye” illusionary painting.   His St. Michael Archangel is an extraordinary example of two-dimensional art which gives the illusion of being a three-dimensional marble sculpture. 

Renovations and restorations are an on-going process at St. Stephens, costing considerable amounts of professional time and vast sums of money.  With the “paucity of sacred works of art” in many of our newer and renovated churches, according to Domus Dei or Built on Living Stones, the timely release of Brumidi’s Stations of the Cross, The Crucifixion, St. Michael, Archangel and other paintings as they become available, is most encouraging.  What more sacred works can be cited than the now available (conservative) works of Constantino Brumidi, Vatican artist to two Popes? 

Commissioned by St. Stephen, Brumidi Art is actively seeking assistance and support from the diocesan bishops, vicariates, pastors and the many active church organizations and fraternal groups in disseminating the good news that Brumidi’s spiritual works of art are available and in varying sizes, including exact size reproductions of the Stations of the Cross for our churches and smaller sizes for chapels and class rooms.  Blessed with 23,000 churches in this our nation, many of which are undergoing renovations and a few are building anew, what a great blessing it is to now have these wonderful spiritual works readily available!

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Brumidi was born in Rome and studied painting and sculpture at the Academia de San Luca.  He painted frescos in several Roman palaces and in the 1840’s he was commissioned by Pope Gregory XVI and later by Pope Pius IX to work at the Vatican.   In 1852, at the age of forty-seven, Brumidi emigrated to the United States.  “I no longer have any desire for fame and fortune.” he remarked upon arriving in the United States, “My one ambition and my daily prayer is that I may live long enough to make beautiful the Capitol of the one country on earth in which there is liberty.”

His Apotheosis of George Washington in the Capitol Rotunda reflects that spirit of freedom, with his magnificent fresco of a seated Washington surrounded by a semi-circle of 15 maidens.  Seated at his right is Liberty and at his left a trumpeting winged Victory.  The other 13 maidens represent the original 13 states.  It is an allegorical fresco of George Washington, whose deeds and virtue have found him worthy of ascending into Heaven.

Brumidi dedicated 27 years to decorating the United States Capitol building.  He executed frescos in the north corridor, now called the “Brumidi Corridor.”   The Presidents room, the Senate reception room and many other committee rooms and corridors are adorned with his work.  Many biographers refer to him as the “Michelangelo of the Capitol.”  The 108th United States Congress unanimously recognized the life and work of Constantino Brumidi (HCR 264 & SCR 61).  His many murals, paintings and trompe l’oeil were completed at St. Stephens while Congress was in session.  When in recess, he would return to the Capitol to complete his work there, earning the same $8 and $10 per day as the legislators.