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NYC - Rockefeller Center: 636 Fifth Avenue - Commerce and Industry with a Caduceus | by wallyg
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NYC - Rockefeller Center: 636 Fifth Avenue - Commerce and Industry with a Caduceus

Attilio Piccirilli's Commerce and Industry with a Caduceus has adorned the entrance of the International Building at 636 Fifth Avenue since its installation in May, 1936. Lit from behind, it remains an evening spectacle on Fifth Avenue. Directly below it is another of Piccirilli's works, Youth Leading Industry.


The large limestone cartouche of two monumental-sized figures symbolizes the basic trades of a nation. The male figure on the left represents commerce, with one hand resting on the handle of a sledgehammer. The female figure on the right represents industry, holding the edge of a rope draped over her shoulder with one hand resting on a cog. A large caduceus, the symbol of Mercury, the god of trade, is placed between the figures. The figures are idealized, with sculpted bodies and confident, relaxed posture. They are clearly delineated, set against protective red and gold wings with a boldly colored, textured background.


Italian born Attilio Piccirilli (1868-1945) was a sculptor, model maker and stone carver. He immigrated to the United States where he and his brothers opened an atelier and workshop specializing in stone. Piccirilli Brothers was also responsible for the Maine Monument in Columbus Circle. They carved the pediment of the New York Stock Exchange, the Four Continents at the US Custom House, Patience and Fortitude at the New York Public Library, and the Washington Arch for other sculptors. Piccirilli's other work in Rockefeller Center, Joy of Life, can be found in One Rockefeller Plaza.


Rockefeller Center was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1985.


In 2007, Rockefeller Center was ranked #56 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.


Rockefeller Center National Register #87002591

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Taken on April 8, 2007