St. Michael watches over Santo Matarazzo

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One of the last wishes of “Mr. Brownstone” has come true.

Prolific Carroll Gardens’ artisan Santo Matarazzo rests in peace at Green-Wood Cemetery %u2013 and alongside him stands tall his exquisite statue of St. Michael the Archangel.

Newly bronzed and a lasting reminder of his spirit, the impressive image was dedicated at the historic graveyard, 500 25th Street, in front of family and friends who came to pay tribute to the Carroll Gardens oil painter, mosaic-maker and sculptor who lived on Union Street, between Henry and Clinton streets, with his wife Lucia before the Sicilian emigre’s death last year at the age of 79.

The Rev. Anthony Sansone from Matarazzo’s parish, Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen’s Church on Summit Street between Hicks and Henry streets, conducted the ceremony with a volunteer choral presentation by New York City-based a cappella ensemble “Khorikos,” to honor the “grandpa Moses of sculpture” whose accomplishments included crafting dozens of statues and busts in addition to creating the plexiglass globe at Ellis Island and exhibiting his work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have happen” said his daughter, Enza Bloise, of the dedication. The statue, she added, would be “a lasting gift for the family and for the community.”

Matarazzo turned to sculpting in the last five years of his life when the physical demands of renovation work on his own brownstone and those in the community became increasingly difficult for him.

His statue of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is proudly mounted at the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach, LI, while his bust of composer Pietro Floridia is on show at the Teatro of Modica in Sicily.

The crusading Matarazzo’s efforts to beautify Brooklyn with his donated artwork proved fruitless, at times, and his wish to see his statue of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in Carroll Park remains unfulfilled.

Another of Matarazzo’s wishes, says Bloise, was to have his sculpture of Dr. Martin Luther King erected in front of the borough’s State Supreme Court %u2013 a hope he had communicated to Borough Hall before his death.

“I do the work, I want to donate, then if they want it, they want it,” he had said at the time, noting with the eye of an artist, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Updated 3:41 pm, October 19, 2011
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