a vicious ignoble Indian who symbolizes the forces of savagery, heathenism, and wilderness that must be subdued for civilization's progress.
Although these artists remain rather obscure, their sculptural achievements, with the exception of Persico Discovery of America (in storage since 1958), are permanent records of the Italian presence in this country when American sculpture as a profession had not yet begun. Through the work for the Capitol, the Italian artists contributed to the creation of a national iconography that narrates myths related to the country's history. Their sculptures outlined the course of America's "civilization," from its discovery and settlement, a theme on which American painters and sculptors would expand, especially after the Capitol's expansion, which began in 1850. 45
Causici's allegorical group in Statuary Hall is entitled "Liberty and the Eagle" in twentieth-century government publications on the art in the Capitol. See C. E. Fairman, Art and Artists of the Capitol of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1927, 51-52, and Art in the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., 1976, 279. My revision of the plaster cases title from "Liberty and the Eagle" to "Genius of the Constitution" derives from Irma Jaffe's observation that the female figure lacks the traditional symbols that would identify the allegory as "Libertas," and from two nineteenth-century documents that identify the statue as "Genius of the Constitution": Register of Debates, 16th Congress, 2nd session, November, 1820, 457; and Records of the U. S. House of Representatives Reports of Committee on Public Buildings, National Archives, H R 14 C B3.
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Publication information: Book title: The Italian Presence in American Art, 1760-1860. Contributors: Irma B. Jaffe - Editor. Publisher: Fordham University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1989. Page number: 145.
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