One man posed for scores of iconic paintings and sculptures, then died a tragic death. He's the most famous man you've never heard of.
Silent film star.
Inspired a generation of art.
Antonio Corsi, the most famous man you've never heard of.
"I prefer to act my parts on a painter's platform. The actor dies and is forgotten. I live for hundreds of years -- maybe thousands -- in the famous paintings in which I appear." - Antonio Corsi, 1912
In 1924, Los Angeles Times writer Carl Clausen said, "To be the original of scores of masterpieces, to be the inspiration of masters and the friend of the great ones of the earth is more than a distinction. Such is the good fortune of Antonio Corsi, the world's most famous living artist's model."
End of the Trail, James Earle Fraser, 1915
Corsi's face and figure was painted, sketched and sculpted by the likes of such great artists as John Singer Sargent, Pierre Auguste Cot and James Earle Fraser. There are statues and reliefs of Corsi found in New York's Battery Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and countless other locations around the globe.
"The Wheel of Fortune," by Sir. Edward Burne-Jones, completed in 1883, contains several figures posed for by Corsi. It hangs at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France.
royalty and then lost everything. He died of consumption in 1924 at the age of 56. Bobby Nye, an opportunistic silent film actress and casual acquaintance of Corsi obtained power of attorney over the ailing man, who was unable to speak for himself in his final days. His large collection of costumes, priceless artwork and photographic archives were quickly liquidated. The following decades saw Corsi's legacy slip into obscurity.
Corsi, through energetic self-archiving, marked his own place in history. He not only lent his image to famous works of art that will survive hundreds of years, but kept a record of his own life in hundreds of recently rediscovered photographs and letters. These materials will aid in telling the story of a man who influenced generations of artists and art lovers.
Frieze of the Prophets (detail featuring Zephaniah, Joel, Obadiah, Hosea), John Singer Sargent, Boston Public Library mural, 1895. Corsi posed for most of the figures. He is seen in the photo above demonstrating his pose for Hosea.
Depicting the life of Antonio Corsi on film will encourage the world to
take a new and different approach to the works of Sargent, Abbey and
many other artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The film
will also paint a retrospective portrait of Antonio Corsi -- one colored
with success, failure, royalty, despair, appreciation and prejudice.
Jonamac Productions is proud to embark upon the filming of the story of the life and work of this ingenious artist's model in the feature documentary entitled Corsi.
This Kickstarter.com initiative will aid in carrying out the pre-production phase of the film project. Further research needs to be conducted, involving travel expenses and various fees. Some on-camera interviews will be conducted. A production budget and schedule will be established. Estimated project completion is November, 2015.
Please help to get this film off the ground! If we do not reach our $3,000 goal by April 20, all pledges are dropped. No credit cards are charged and our project does NOT get funded!
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New York Custom House Statues, Daniel Chester French, 1907. Corsi posed for all of the male figures in the four sculptures at the entrance.
Dome over Main Reading Room, Library of Congress, Edwin Howland Blashfield, Washington D.C., 1897. Corsi posed for several of the figures.
The Storm, Pierre-Auguste Cot, 1880. Corsi posed for this painting at a very young age.
Hundreds of personal letters to and from Corsi aid in the research.
A fraction of the photographic archive.
Producer/director Jake Gorst conducting project research.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.