The Angel of Mercy
With upstretched hands and a benign countenance, a bronze statue depicting the Angel of Mercy greet visitors to the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center for the Healing Arts. The angel statue is the happy result of a collaboration between Birmingham artist/sculptor Constantine Breton, who designed the work, and Italian sculptor Urbano Buratti, who cast the statue in Florence, Italy. Working from Breton's drawings, Buratti created a fully-dimensional clay statue of the angel. Buratti then executed a mold from which the Angel was cast.
Designer/sculptor Breton was born in Michigan but moved to Alabama when he was 12. He attended Alabama School of Fine Arts and Samford University, where he studied visual arts under Dr. Lowell C. Vann, chairman of the Art Department. In 1979, Breton was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He later transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts at Carrara, Italy, graduating in 1984. Returning to Alabama, Breton established a firm specializing in the design and execution of marble and bronze fine arts projects in conjunction with his associates in northern Italy.
Sculptor Buratti was born in Pietrasanta, Italy, in 1916. A graduate of the State School of Art in Torino, he has shown in exhibitions and participated in competitions throughout Italy and abroad. Buratti created a series of large bronze groups of the "Way of the Cross" for the city of Detroit; his works appear in squares, gardens, churches, public buildings, and cemeteries around the world.