Title of Mural
“Fall of the Angels”
St. Michael’s Catholic Church 47-48 Walnut Street Brattleboro, Vermont
1914–1915 [or 1912?]
Donatus Buongiorno painted a mural called “Fall of the Angels,” shown below, and other interior decorations in this church, finishing in 1912, as described in detail in two period articles from The Vermont Phoenix newspaper shown below. Sometime between 1926 and 1940, they were removed or painted over, according to photos of the church and descriptions of other renovations in St. Michael’s 150th anniversary commemorative book.
Exterior of Church
Do you know what happened to this painting?
Since it was painted on canvas, it would have been possible to roll and save. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this painting, I would love to hear from you.
How I found information on this church—and a special thank you to helpful family members.
Special shout-outs to my cousin, Lisa Hamm-Greenawalt, and my uncle, James L. (Jim) Troisi, who helped research this church.
Lisa visited the church circa 2000–2005 and photographed extant murals. Though they turned out not to be Donatus Buongiorno’s work (see story above), she got us started.
Jim visited the church in 2007, attended mass, then talked to the pastor, Reverend Francis E. Connors, and some elderly members of the congregation afterward. From them, Jim learned of renovations to the church over the years which confirmed that Donatus Buongiorno’s work was lost between 1925 and 1940. Jim also acquired (and gave to me) the commemorative booklet shown above. It includes several period photographs of the nave which I have scrutinized with a magnifying glass to piece together the story of this mural.
The final piece of the puzzle was finding The Vermont Phoenix newspaper stories (shown above) in the recently digitized collection of American newspapers available online from the U.S. Library of Congress.