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Columbus Monument

Gaetano Russo
Fonderia Nelli (Roma)

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Granite column surmounted by a marble statue of Columbus (21 m high) with bronze reliefs. The three ships depicted on the column represent the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. The fountain was a gift of George T. Delacorte in 1965.

On the base, facing south (primary facade): 1.8m-tall winged boy of Carrera marble, variously called "Genius of Geography", "Genius of Columbus," or "Genius of Discovery."

Below the Genius: 1.2m-wide bronze relief of Columbus making his first landfall: Relief of Columbus's landing

North side of base: 1.2m-wide bronze relief of Columbus's ships anchored in the Caribbean, with his men watching as he takes a longboat to shore:

Relief of Columbus's fleet

North side, above the relief: bronze eagle holding shields of Genoa and the U.S.

On the column: ships prows and anchors, in bronze

Columbus at the top: Carrera marble. He holds the tiller with his right hand (behind him), and looks slightly toward the left.

The fountains around the base were designed by Douglas Leigh. The decorative fence that surrounds the island on which the Monument sits was donated by the Delacorte Foundation in 1960.


christopher columbus
the italians resident in america,
scoffed at before,
during the voyage, menaced,
after it, chained,
as generous as oppressed,
to the world, he gave a world.

joy and glory
never uttered a more thrilling call
than that which resounded
from the conquered ocean
in sight of the first american island
land! land!

on the xii of october mdcccxcii
the fourth centenary
of the discovery of america
in imperishable remembrance

cristoforo colombo
gli italiani residenti in america
irriso prima
minacciato durante il viaggio
incatenato dopo
sapendo esser generoso quanto oppresso
donava un mondo al mondo.

la gioia e la gloria
non ebbero mai piu solenne guido
di quello che risuono in vista
della prima isola americana
terra! terra!

nel 12 ottobre 1892
quarto centenario
della scoperta d'america
a imperitura memoria

Lower on the pedestal:

g. russo, invento e scolpt, roma 1892
per iniziativa
del progresso italo americano
il primo giornale italiano quotidiano
negli stati uniti.
cav. carlo barsotti editore e proprietario.

On bronze reliefs on base: Russo. Invento E Sculpi Roma 1894/ Fond/Nelli/Roma


Vintage postcard Funds to build this memorial were donated by a group of Italian Americans through subscriptions raised by the newspaper, Il Progresso Italo-Americano.

From Francis Morrone writes: "...Barsotti [= Carlo Barsotti (1850-1927), an immigrant who in 1880 founded Il Progresso, in time the city's largest-circulation foreign-language daily newspaper] sponsored the most spectacular of New York's monuments that celebrate the specialness of the New World. Gaetano Russo's Christopher Columbus monument in Columbus Circle, unveiled in 1892 on the 400th anniversary of the Italian explorer's discovery of America. A marble Columbus surmounts a granite column, embellished with ship's prows and anchors like a famous lost column of Augustus, on which the Roman emperor had hung the prows of the ships he defeated in the Battle of Actium in 31 b.c. ..."

See also the description by Ponce de Leon.

The monument was restored in 1992.

This monument on postcards

Click here for the postcard(s) and enlargement(s)


Sources & Information


Location (N 40°46'5" - W 73°58'54")

Item Code: usny28; Photograph: 25 October 2000  / Updated: 21 November 2010

© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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