The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America

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The “Italian” Angel of Central Park

May 20 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The “Italian” Angel of Central Park

The Story Behind One of NYC’s Most Popular Icons

Casa Italiana

24 West 12th Street

New York, NY 10011

Tickets Here!!

Cental Park’s Bethesda Fountain, topped by the “Angel of the Waters” sculpture, 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, New Yorker Emma Stebbins, who is 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 Rome, Italy, 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, author of Emma and the Angel of Central Park (Bordighera Press, 2023), will be in conversation with VSNY’s own Eve M. Kahn, independent scholar and our vice president, moderated by Stefano Albertini (NYU).

📷 “Angel of the Waters,” Bethesda Fountain, Central Park. Francisco Diez, 2009.

📷 Portrait of Emma Stebbins. Emma Stebbins scrapbook, 1858–1882, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


May 20
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm