In 19th Century America, Italy was seen as the sanctuary of culture and beauty. At that time, Italy was still one of the main goals in the European pilgrimages undertaken by American artists, art lovers and wealthy tourists. Before the end of the century – when the great migration from Italy started – Italian artists, actors, singers and musicians were greeted in America as the heirs of classical culture. They were cultural ambassadors representing the face of a country everybody – “aristocrats” like Thomas Jefferson and theater-goers in New York and San Francisco – appreciated. This gallery features some famous and unknown artists, people who brought the Italian art taste to America: from Costantino Brumidi, the Michelangelo of the Capitol, to Joe Oriolo, the creator of Casper and Felix the Cat. Discover the Italian American experience in the book Explorers Emigrants Citizens. A Visual History of the Italian American Experience from the Collections of the Library of Congress by Linda Barrett Osborne and Paolo Battaglia.