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Bethesda Fountain
Conversation

The “Italian” Angel of Central Park

The Story Behind One of the Most Popular NYC Icons

Date
May 20, 2024
Time
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Overview

The event will also be broadcast live on our
YouTube, Facebook, and website

Co-sponsored by the Victorian Society’s New York chapter and Historic Districts Council

The “Italian” Angel of Central Park

The Story Behind One of the Most Popular NYC Icons

Maria Teresa Cometto
Author of Emma and the Angel of Central Park (Bordighera Press, 2023)

in conversation with

Eve M. Kahn
Independent scholar and vice-president of the Victorian Society’s New York chapter

Moderated by Stefano Albertini (NYU)

In ENGLISH

The Bethesda Fountain with the Angel of the Waters is one of the most popular icons of New York City. Scenes from countless movies have been filmed at its feet. But very few people know that the artist who created the Angel was a woman, the New Yorker Emma Stebbins, the first woman to receive a public art commission in New York City. Also, very few people know that the Angel of the Waters was created in Italy, in Rome, and that it is a symbol of love, harmony, healing and rebirth.

Emma Stebbins (1815-1882) was a true pioneer as an artist and as a woman who, together with her companion Charlotte Cushman, defied prejudice and social conventions, living openly as a “married” gay couple 150 years before it became legal in the United states.

Maria Teresa Cometto is an Italian American journalist and author based in New York City. She was born in Novara, Italy. She moved to NYC in 2000. She has been working for 30 years for the leading Italian daily: “Corriere della Sera”. She has also written several books including “Emma and the Angel of Central Park” (2022 Italian edition published by Neri Pozza, 2023 English edition by Bordighera Press), “La Marchesa Colombi. Life, Novels and Passions of the First Woman Journalist of Corriere della Sera” (2020, Solferino), and “Brothers of the Mountains. Arturo and Oreste Squinobal from the Alps to the Himalayas” (2019 Italian edition Corbaccio, 2020 English edition KDP). On June 2, 2017, Maria Teresa was awarded the title “Cavaliere (Knight) dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana”.

Eve M. Kahn is an independent scholar, historian and journalist. She writes about art, architecture, and design for the Times among other publications. She is the biographer of artist Mary Rogers Williams (1857-1907) and writer Zoe Anderson Norris (1860-1914). She is the vice-president of the Victorian Society’s New York chapter and board member of the Grolier Club.