Historical Note


Born in Italy in 1881, Giuseppe Donato came to America at the age of ten, and by the time of his death established himself as a noted sculptor and recognized figure in the Philadelphia art community. Receiving a city scholoarship, Donato studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts from 1897 to 1903. He also studied modeling and architecture at PMA, which operated at that time as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. While at PAFA, he won a prize for sculpture as well as a scholarship to study in Europe. In Paris from 1903 to 1905, Donato studied first at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts and then with Rodin. Returning to America, Donato created some controversy with "Burning Desire" and "Nature's Melody," two nudes he created in 1908 for the city of Baltimore. Other works included a large bronze statue of Columbus for the Pennsylvania town of Easton (1930), the west pediment of the building that in 1940 housed the Philadelphia Municipal Court, and a statue completed in 1946 of Thomas Fitzsimmons, one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution, which stands today in Philadelphia's Logan Square. According to a 1965 obituary, Donato's most famous works included busts of Mark Twain and Benito Mussolini, as well as works entitled "Dawn," "Hand of Immorality [sic]," and "Plumline of Human Consciousness." Donato maintained a studio in Philadelphia and was a longtime member of the city's Art Commission.