Virgil David Cantini (1919–2009) was an enamelist,
sculptor and educator. He was well known for innovation with enamel and steel and received both local and national recognition for his work, including honorary awards, competitive prizes and commissions, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957. Cantini long served as a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh, where he helped to create the Department of Studio Arts. A longtime resident of the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cantini died on May 2, 2009 at the age of 90.〔 Today, many of his large scale works are on display throughout the city of Pittsburgh.
A native of Italy, Cantini and his family emigrated to Weirton, West Virginia in the 1920s. He initially attended Manhattan College in New York before transferring to Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) where he received a football scholarship and earned All-America status as a quarterback.〔〔 His studies were interrupted by World War II, in which he served the Army making topographical maps and models in North Africa.〔
Following the war, Cantini received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1946 from Carnegie Tech and married a fellow art student, Lucille Kleber. Cantini went on to earn a master’s in fine arts at the University of Pittsburgh in 1948, and was granted an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Duquesne University in 1982.〔
Cantini and his wife settled in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh were they had two daughters, Maria and Lisa, and lived for 60 years. His home on the 200 block of South Craig Street also served as his studio and gallery.〔
Beginning in 1948, Cantini’s artwork gained national exposure when his enamel “Masquerade” was juried at the 13th National Ceramic Exhibition in Syracuse, New York. In 1953 he was named one of the “Hundred Leaders of Tomorrow” by Time magazine. In 1956, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts named Cantini the region’s Artist of the Year and he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957.〔 By 1959, Cantini was considered among the most prominent contemporary enamelists, with his work included regularly in New York’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts exhibitions.〔 Cantini was awarded the Pope Paul VI Bishop's Medal in 1964 for "outstanding contribution in the field of liturgical art", and in 1968, he was awarded the Davinci Medal by the Cultural Heritage Foundation of the Italian Sons & Daughters of America.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Biography: Virgil D. Cantini (1920) )〕
Cantini taught at the University of Pittsburgh for 38 years, retiring in 1989. He was the first chair of the Department of Studio Arts, which he is credited with establishing.〔 He also served on the University's Athletic Committee in the 1970s. Cantini formerly served as the chair of the Department of Art,〔(【引用サイトリンク】title= Education at Associated Artists of Pittsburgh )〕
and served as Professor of Studio Arts, Emeritus until his death.
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