An Italian sculptor known for creating the famous “Charging Bull” statue on Wall Street has died.
According to Fox News, Arturo Di Modica passed away in his Sicilian hometown after battling cancer. He was 80.
Famed artist dies
Di Modica’s famous statue began as something of a prank: according to reports, he installed the 3.5-ton bronze behemoth outside of the New York Stock Exchange without permission in 1989.
It was seized by police, but public pressure led to the statue finding a permanent home at its current spot in Bowling Green — and it has been a fixture of New York ever since.
Di Modica had said that “Charging Bull” was meant as a tribute to America after the stock market crash of 1987.
“It was a time of crisis, the New York Stock Exchange had plummeted more than 20 percent overnight. With some friends I asked myself what I could do for ‘my’ town,” he told the Italian paper La Repubblica recently, according to AFP.
The artist went on: “Of course I am from Vittoria but I lived for more than 40 years in New York. And I got the idea to sculpt a bull, the image of a stock exchange on the rise. It must have been a witticism, a provocation. But it turned into something serious.”
Leaving a legacy
The statue’s notoriety has attracted tourists, pranksters, and kooks over the years. In 2019, it was left with a gash in one of its horns from a man who damaged it with a banjo, convinced it was the devil, as Fox reported.
“Charging Bull” has also galvanized political controversy. Di Modica was reportedly not pleased when his work became a companion piece to “Fearless Girl,” a feminist statue that was eventually removed after his insistence.
Born in Sicily, Arturo demonstrated his talent at a young age before immigrating to New York City in the 1970s, where he founded his first studio in SoHo, according to Fox.
“I have been told that after the Statue of Liberty, the ‘Charging Bull’, right next to the temple of finance, is the most visited monument in New York. it even beats the Empire State Building,” he told Repubblica.
At the time of his death, Di Modica was working on a pair of bronze stallions called the “The Horses of Ippari” to be placed in his hometown of Vittoria, Fox reported.