First Ever US exhibition of Renaissance Painter Carlo Crivelli Opens at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Ornament & Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice runs Oct. 22, 2015 – Jan. 25, 2016

Carlo Crivelli (about 1435–about 1495) is one of the most important – and historically neglected – artists of the Italian Renaissance. Distinguished by radically expressive compositions, luxuriant ornamental display, and bravura illusionism, his works push the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Crivelli manipulated the surface of each one with rare mastery of his medium, crafting visionary encounters with the divine, forging the modern icon, and offering a powerful alternative to new models of painting associated with Florence.

The exhibition brings together 23 paintings and the artist’s only known drawing. Newly cleaned and restored, the Gardner’s iconic Saint George Slaying the Dragon is the focal point for a two-part installation. The first reunites four of six surviving panels from Crivelli’s Porto San Giorgio altarpiece, of which the Gardner painting is a fragment. The second part introduces visitors to the artist’s repertoire of dazzling pictorial effects with some of his most important works in Europe and the United States.

carlo-crivelli-virgin-and-child-circa1480Included in Ornament and Illusion are unprecedented loans from The National Gallery, London; the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt; the Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Together, the works assembled in Boston reveal the artist’s astonishing skill, encompassing artistic vision, and relentless ambition, restoring Crivelli to his rightful place in the pantheon of Renaissance painters.

Crivelli was esteemed in his own time as a painter of rank and status. Born in Venice, he trained locally and joined a workshop in the mainland city of Padua, learning from the same master as the celebrated artist Andrea Mantegna (1430/1–1506). Exiled for adultery shortly after returning to Venice in 1457, Crivelli then embarked on a peripatetic career. Early successes on both sides of the Adriatic led to prestigious commissions in the Marches, a mountainous region of northeast Italy defined by its religious and ethnic diversity and ruled by competing feudal lords. He signed the immense high altarpieces for the cathedrals of Ascoli Piceno, in 1473, and Camerino, around 1490. Recognized for his remarkable artistic accomplishments with the aristocratic title of “knight,” Crivelli died around 1494.

The exhibition is organized by guest co-curator Stephen J. Campbell (Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor, Johns Hopkins University), guest co-curator Oliver Tostmann (Susan Morse Hills Curator of European Art, Wadsworth Athenaeum), and Nathaniel Silver (Assistant Curator of the Collection, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum).

Ornament and Illusion: Carlo Crivelli of Venice is accompanied by a catalog edited by Stephen J. Campbell. Seven essays challenge the prevailing view of Crivelli as a provincial artist working in an anachronistic “gothic” style, investigate the facture of his paintings, and shed new light on his rediscovery by collectors. Catalog entries deliver new insights and up-to-date bibliography for each work in the exhibition. Contributing authors include C. Jean Campbell (Emory University), Francesco De Carolis (Università di Bologna), Thomas Golsenne (École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Nice), Gianfranco Pocobene (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), and Alison Wright (University College London).


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way, Boston MA, 02115

National Italian American Foundations Celebrates 40 Years

A Celebration of Family, Culture, Song and Food

The National Italian American Foundation recreated its 40th Anniversary Awards Gala Weekend into an extravaganza of song, homage to heritage, family ties, and passion for food. The Foundation’s celebration of its 40-year milestone united Italian American and Italian cultures of the past with an eye to the future. The NIAF gala was presented by Alitalia in an unpresented partnership between the Italian airline carrier and NIAF.

NIAF Board member and Emmy Award-winning Fox News Anchor and Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo, and NIAF President John M. Viola, co-hosted one of the most popular black-tie galas in our nation’s capital at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on October 17, 2015.

Global music sensation Il Volo – Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble – captured the guests’ attention on stage singing the popular Italian song “Volare.”  They closed the evening with “Grande Amore,” their orginal song that won the Sanremo Music Festival in 2015, to a standing-only audience.

“The only reason I am here tonight is because of my father, he taught me the importance of heritage,” said 12-time MLB All-Star Mike Piazza. He encouraged the guests to pass our rich heritage and culture to the next generation. Piazza was joined by actor Chazz Palminteri, who shared a similar message: “I beg you to give to NIAF; this Foundation represents leadership in the Italian American community,” said Palminteri, urging guests to not forget NIAF’s mission and help students through scholarships.

This year’s 40th Gala Dinner Chair and a NIAF Board Member J.J. Cafaro, welcomed a sold out ballroom of more than 1,700 guests from across the United States and Italy.  Patricia de Stacy Harrison, 40th anniversary celebration chair, NIAF vice chair, and president and CEO of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, introduced a video highlighting what it means to be an Italian American from its leadership, past and present.

NIAF Gala honorees included Italian American musical singing legend Connie Francis, who was inducted into the Italian American Hall of Fame. Accepting the award on her behalf, Viola urged guests to nominate Ms. Francis to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

NIAF awarded the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Business and Health to Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., founder and director of Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology. “It has been my lifelong goal to make a difference in people’s lives, and I’m grateful that I’ve had an opportunity to do so.” Caruso said.   He was introduced by Peter J. Arduini, president and CEO of Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation, and a member of the NIAF Board of Directors.

Steve Perillo, president and owner of Perillo Tours, America’s largest travel company, received the NIAF Achievement Award in Business. Perillo was the longtime apprentice to his father, the legendary Mario Perillo, “Mr. Italy.” He spoke about the family-owned company that is now celebrating 71 years in the travel industry.

Between award presentations, Italian classical guitarist Tom Sinatra passionately serenaded guests to popular Italian songs.

The Foundation’s former executive director and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, Alfred M. Rotondaro, Ph.D., received the Italian American Community Leadership Award. Rotondaro remembered the early founders of NIAF: “NIAF is a place that nurtures Italian Americans.

The Sicilian Tenors, including Aaron Caruso, Elio Scaccio and Sam Vitale,  stepped on to the stage to serenade the guests to “O Sole Mio” before NIAF Executive Vice President and chair of the Italian American Leadership Council (IALC) John F. Calvelli introduced the IALC’s work in finding the next group of leaders.

NIAF’s Co-Chair of the Education and Grants Committee and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors Anita Bevacqua McBride welcomed the 40 under 40 list of Italian Americans, and introduced NIAF’s new Italian American leadership fellows from universities across the country.

Three prominent Italian and Italian Americans, who have distinguished themselves in the fields of government, finance and business received NIAF 40th Anniversary Awards for Leadership and Service.  They were Amato L. Berardi, founder of Berardi & Associates Inc., and former member of the Italian Parliament; Mario J. Gabelli, founder, chairman of GAMCO Investors Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed company; and Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC and owner of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C.

Upon receiving his award, Berardi spoke about the importance of the support and love he received from his family as the best medicine after a recent accident.  Gabelli dedicated his honor to his father.  He explained the importance of the scholarships NIAF awards to young people and giving back that opportunity for others to achieve.

From the podium, Nuschese dedicated his award to his mother and the mother of his son, Gianfranco. “They taught me the value of life, love, respect and honesty,” said Nuschese.  He also recognized the late Terrence Lanni, former CEO of MGM Resorts International, who shaped my life and career. “His memory and spiritual legacy is part of my life.”

When Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V., came to the stage, he explained, “I am merely here to plead my case, my outfit tonight is an international dress code.” Since he spends most of his time on an airplane, he wears the classic white shirt and a black pull over sweater. “Our sense of place stays with you where you go. My father taught me integrity, civil engagement and sense of duty.  My mother taught me strong will and sensitivity,”  said Marchionne, who received the NIAF Special Achievement Award in International Business.

“I am a legal immigrant, blessed to be born in Italy and adopted by the United States,” was the message from Josephine J. (Gargiulo) Templeton, M.D., trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.  NIAF awarded Templeton with the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award in Philanthropy. She thanked Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. for recreating and writing the speech he gave at the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Alito welcomed the men and woman who bravely served in the military. He recognized them as the “voice for Italian Americans.” Alito also introduced a video chronicling the activities of the NIAF’s Public Policy program.

Dignitaries from Italy at the Gala included Italy’s Ambassador to the United States Claudio Bisogniero, who led an Italian delegation of business executives.  From the United States, special guests included: U.S. Representatives Tom Marino, Joe Heck and Mike Pompeo; Anthony Fauci M.D., director of the National Institutes of  Allergy and Infectious Diseases;  Lawrence Romo, director of the Selective Service System; and actors Vinny Pastore and Tony Lo Bianco.

Guests rose to their feet when Carlo Rotunno sang “Inno di Mameli,” Italy’s national anthem and singer and songwriter Giada Valenti sang the U.S. national anthem.  During the Gala dinner, a selection of red and white fine Italian wines were served from Italy’s Northern regions that complimented Barolo braised short ribs with polenta and chicken Scarpariello with Italian sausage.

To kick off NIAF’s Gala Weekend, the Foundation partnered with the Italian American Studies Association (IASA) to host a series of conferences on Thursday, October 15, through Saturday, October 17.

Beginning on Friday, NIAF and the Italian American Leadership Council (IALC) hosted a NIAF on Campus Conference with industry experts and 30 Italian American college students and professors selected as Italian American Fellows. They were joined by NIAF’s leadership, including Ken J. Aspromonte; Gabriel A. Battista; Robert E. Carlucci, Arthur J. Furia; Marie L. Garibaldi; Gerard S. LaRocca; Patricia de Stacy Harrison; Anita Bevacqua McBride; George Simeone; Salvatore Salibello; and John P. Rosa, who gave their perspectives on successful career practices.

Friday evening, SNL legend, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador, actor, entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo launched the weekend’s evening celebrations with “Joe Piscopo and Friends Celebrate Sinatra’s 100th Birthday.” Piscopo was joined by Valenti and Deena Martin, daughter of the late Dean Martin, as the Radio King Orchestra stepped up the beat throughout the evening. NIAF auction chairman, Rosa was on hand to encourage guests to bid on one-of-a-kind items during the live and silent auctions and to purchase a chance to win a Fiat 500 L Lounge.

Beginning Saturday, NIAF and the IALC hosted a leadership forum to discuss potential strategies to address the contentious issues surrounding Columbus Day. Noted journalists, representatives from the National Christopher Columbus Association and the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, as well as leaders of the Italian American community joined the panel.

Popular weekend events included a documentary screening of “The Tale of the Other Italy,” produced by Rai Italia and directed by a Luigi Maria Perotti. The film tells the Italian emigration story through the various entry ports. It shows how Italian Emigration Museums around the world with their projects, pictures and documents plays a key role in preserving and understanding the past as well as understaning the new Italian emigration in the world.

NIAF also hosted its signature wine tasting featuring 11 Amarone wines from Italy’s Northern regions with a sommelier on hand to lead guests through a spectrum of Italian wines. Wines were assembled by Patrizia Marin, president of Marco Polo Experience; representing the 11 vineyards were Marie Sabrina Tedeschi of Tedeschi Wines and Antonio Cesari of Brigaldara Wines.

The weekend also featured a medical conference, “Health and Research: Beyond The Eyes” with a panel discussion about the latest research and common eye conditions with Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D.,  president and founder of Sbarro Health Research Organization Inc., and a NIAF board member, and other notable speakers including Michele Masucci, Ph.D.; Vito M. Campese, M.D.; and Paul Tapino, M.D.  Giacomina Massaro-Giordano M.D. and Dolores Del Raso presented the 2015 Giovan Giacomo Giordano NIAF Award for Ethnics and Creativity in Medical Research.

Also during the weekend, Viola hosted “NIAF – Ieri, Oggi, Domani,” an engaging panel discussion focusing on the current state of the Italian American community and its challenges as we move forward. Viola was joined by the Foundation’s Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso, board leaders Calvelli, and Harrison; board members Nicholas R. Caiazzo and John P. Rosa: and Jeff Browning, president of the Italian American Staff Association.

Expo Italiana, a showcase of the sights, sounds and products of Italy and Italian Americans, included Mike’s Deli, the original Arthur Avenue Italian Deli, with David Greco serving complimentary old-fashioned sandwiches, pasta, and Italian delicacies. Peroni Nastro Azzurro served samples of Italy’s finest beer; espresso at Lavazza Café as well as coffee to guests on Friday and Saturday evening. Guests also relaxed and enjoyed many products displayed by companies including Dolce Gelato, La Famiglia Del Grasso; Amina Rubinacci, and Petrone Antica Distilleria, to name a few.

To conclude the Gala program, NIAF Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso thanked the Board of Directors, honorees, staff and supporters. “What a party and the best is yet to come,” Del Raso said. On stage, a three-tiered birthday cake from Carlo’s Bakery, of the Cake Boss fame, was presented to celebrate the Foundation’s 40 incredible years.  Del Raso led the guests in singing “Happy Birthday to us.”

Immediately following the Gala, guests proceeded to attend the Foundation’s famed After Hours Celebration featuring live entertainment with singer and songwriter Ciro Di Lorenzo, and others in the Marriott Lobby Lounge.

International Business Entrepreneur and Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese to be honored at NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Gala

Franco Nuschese, president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC, and owner of Cafe Milano in Washington, D.C., will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 40th Anniversary Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Nuschese will receive the NIAF 40th Anniversary Award for Leadership and

Franco Nuschese

Franco Nuschese

Service on October 17, 2015, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. The black-tie event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony.

Honorees joining Nuschese include Amato L. Berardi, founder of Berardi & Associates Inc., and former member of the Italian Parliament; Richard E. Caruso, Ph.D., founder and director of Integra
LifeSciences; Connie Francis, Italian American music legend; Mario Gabelli, founder, chairman and CEO of GAMCO Investors Inc.; Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.; Steve Perillo, president and owner of Perillo Tours; and Alfred M. Rotondaro, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former NIAF executive director; and Josephine J. (Gargiulo) Templeton, M.D., trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.

Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Nuschese began his professional career in marketing in London and Las Vegas. From 1983 to 1991, he managed restaurants for Caesars Palace and later opened two restaurants at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino. Nuschese arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1991 and was general manager for the Italian restaurant, Bice. A year later, Nuschese opened Cafe Milano, using his marketing background to propel the restaurant to top-ranked status. In addition to serving as president of Georgetown Entertainment Group LLC providing professional services focused on public relations, strategy, marketing and organization, Nuschese is president of Capital Wines LLC, a producer of fine Italian wines. One of his personal achievements was hosting a lunch for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday at the Vatican Embassy during the Pope’s visit to the nation’s capital.

Nuschese is active in organizations that support Italian culture in America. He serves on the boards of the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology; the Global Virus Network; the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute; and the Atlantic Council. He also contributes to Spanish Catholic Charities, and to events benefiting American military troops and veterans.

Besides NIAF’s distinguished honorees, celebrities and entertainment take center stage during NIAF Gala Weekend to celebrate a milestone in its history. As part of NIAF’s lineup of celebrities, actors Danny Aiello, Chazz Palminteri and Annabella Sciorra; singer and songwriter Giada Valenti; performer Tom Sinatra; The Washington Chorus; The Sicilian Tenors, Aaron Caruso, Elio Scaccio and Sam Vitale, will join Il Volo’s Piero Barone and Ignazio Boscetto, and Gianluca Ginoble, as part of the weekend performances.

NIAF Board Member and Emmy Award-winning Fox News Anchor and Global Markets Editor Maria Bartiromo and SNL legend, NIAF Celebrity Ambassador, actor, entertainer and radio host Joe Piscopo will co-host one of the most popular galas in our nation’s capital. To open the weekend festivities on Friday evening, October 16, Piscopo and celebrity guests will celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday and honor the legacy of Sinatra with the crooner’s celebrated melodies from his songbook.

NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Weekend is presented by Alitalia, the airline that brings the best of Italy to the world. Tickets to Saturday’s Gala begin at $400 per person. Young professional tickets cost $200 per person available only by phone. Tickets to Friday evening’s celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday cost $200 per person. Proceeds benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202-387-0600 or, or register online at


Presidential Proclamation — Columbus Day, 2015


“Columbus’s arrival in the New World inspired many and allowed for generations of Italians to follow — people whose Italian-American heritage contributes in immeasurable ways to making our country what it is, and who continue to help strengthen the friendship between the United States and Italy.”




Over half a millennium ago, Christopher Columbus — an ambitious navigator native to Genoa, Italy — set sail for new horizons. Aboard the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, his expedition went west for a months-long journey. Though his first of four voyages across the Atlantic did not end at his desired destination of Asia, Columbus’s adventure reflected the insatiable thirst for exploration that continues to drive us as a people.

Columbus DayColumbus’s legacy is embodied in the spirit of our Nation. Determined and curious, the young explorer persevered after having been doubted by many of his potential patrons. Once opportunity struck, when Ferdinand II and Isabella I agreed to sponsor his trip, he seized the moment and pursued what he knew to be possible. Columbus’s arrival in the New World inspired many and allowed for generations of Italians to follow — people whose Italian-American heritage contributes in immeasurable ways to making our country what it is, and who continue to help strengthen the friendship between the United States and Italy.

Though these early travels expanded the realm of European exploration, to many they also marked a time that forever changed the world for the indigenous peoples of North America. Previously unseen disease, devastation, and violence were introduced to their lives — and as we pay tribute to the ways in which Columbus pursued ambitious goals — we also recognize the suffering inflicted upon Native Americans and we recommit to strengthening tribal sovereignty and maintaining our strong ties.

In the years since Columbus’s time, the legacy of early explorers has carried on in the wide eyes of aspiring young dreamers and doers, eager to make their own journeys and to continue reaching for the unknown and unlocking new potential.

In commemoration of Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage 523 years ago, the Congress, by joint resolution of April 30, 1934, and modified in 1968 (36 U.S.C. 107), as amended, has requested the President proclaim the second Monday of October of each year as “Columbus Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 12, 2015, as Columbus Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of our diverse history and all who have contributed to shaping this Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.