Pedro Gualdi (1808 - 1857)

Pietro Antonio Gualdi was born in Capri, Italy on July 22, 1808. He studied painting and theater arts at the Academy of Arts in Milan. Throughout his life he studied and traveled extensively. He started worked as a set designer for La Scala from 1834 and it was through this company that he was sent to Veracruz Mexico in 1838. Gualdi became a great lover of the romanticist movement, and when the theater company went back to Italy he decided to stay in Mexico amazed by it's grandiose viceroyal and neoclassical architecture. During his 13 years in Mexico he became a prolific printmaker and painter producing many works of important palaces and monuments throughout the country. In 1850, Gualdi became a professor of perspective at the esteemed Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City. He would only be there for one year since in December of 1851 he had already mover to city of New Orleans, LA where he worked on a project called Panorama of New Orleans. Like his Mexico City panoramas before, this was a monumental work 20 x 128 feet large featuring a view of the city sketched out from the tower of St. Patrick's Church. In Louisiana, Gualdi was hailed as a great architect and designed a contemporary octagon building at the corner of St. Charles and Poydras streets to exhibit his panorama in 1854. A year later he became the main artist for the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans and his last work was a monumental marble tomb for the Italian Mutual Benevolent Society in St. Louis Cemetery I. He died on January 4, 1857 a few months shy of his 50th birthday and his body buried at the tomb he had designed.

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