Thomas Jefferson High School Historical Preservation Society
 

Architectural Works of Art: Hannibal Pianta

Hannibal Pianta, whose works of art you see in the architecture of Thomas Jefferson High School, is an inspiration to us all. Hannibal was born in Boccioletto, Italy in 1875. He migrated to the United States around 1905 and set up shop at 509 Leal Street in San Antonio, Texas. His brother John already had an established business and had produced ornamental works as the chief plasterer during the construction of the Texas State Capital Building, and the Georgia State Capital.

The family later moved a studio to 300 Fredericksburg Road in San Antonio, where they would model and cast their work and then truck it to the site. Hannibal created all of the ornamentation for the Empire Theatre in 1913-14. Hannibal and his family created the intricate sculpted work at the main entrance of Thomas Jefferson High School in 1930-1932. His classic artistic signature can be found in many parts of the school including the auditorium and the library. He and his son Eugene would create the art piece in clay, sculpt it by hand, fire it, make a mold and then utilize a special mix of concrete to create the final work of art. The ornamental concrete was made in sections at their shop at Cornell and Fredericksburg Road and then brought to the construction site for the school.

The legacy of the Hannibal Pianta family lives on in our beautiful school building. These works of art among many others found on campus need to be protected. The TJHS HPS is here to help preserve and conserve this art and if possible restore it to its original beauty. We will post more information about Mr. Hannibal Pianta and his artistic achievements because it is through his artistic talents that we are able to enjoy the unique beauty of our wonderful school campus.

The front entrance is made in 8 columns that were carved in clay to create a mold then molded in a special concrete created by the artist, Hannibal Pianta. in 1931 & 1932 they were carted to the site and assembled into the architecture design. Hannibal created this unique art and it will never be seen any where else so it needs to be protected for all to enjoy. Please find it in your hearts to give to our mission to conserve and protect the wonderous art and architecture at TJHS.


    


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Thomas Jefferson High School Historical Preservation Society, PO Box 5567, San Antonio, TX 78201-0557

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