Cover photo for Eleonora "Sunshine" Luciano's Obituary
Eleonora "Sunshine" Luciano Profile Photo

Eleonora "Sunshine" Luciano

July 6, 1963 — August 17, 2017

            Eleonora Luciano of Washington, D.C., and Eagles Mere, Pa., passed away peacefully, with her husband Brian Gaul by her side, on August 17, 2017, after an over 4 year courageous battle with cancer.   She was 54 years old.             Eleonora, a distinguished scholar who was a curator at the National Gallery of Art, was born in Como, Italy.   Her mother, Lynn Magruder Mills Luciano, was an American expat opera singer who was a descendant of several old and prominent American families.   Her father, Giuseppe Luciano, was an Italian administrator at the Red Cross in Como.    Eleonora was given the nickname Sunshine at birth.   She was raised in Italy but came to the United States for her final year of high school at Mercersburg Academy.    She graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.   She then received her Master’s degree and PhD in art history from Indiana University, where her mother had become a professor of voice.             Eleonora specialized in Italian Renaissance art and was most recently associate curator of sculpture at the National Gallery.     She published frequently and among other things was co-author of the Gallery’s systematic catalogue of Renaissance Medals.   She was a contributor for many exhibitions, and was the organizing curator and catalogue editor for the highly successful Antico:  The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes exhibition at the National Gallery and Frick Collection in New York in 2011-12.   In 2014 she was the Ailsa Mellon Bruce Curatorial Sabbatical Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts focusing on Raphael’s portrait of Elisabetta Gonzaga.   This portrait was the subject of an article Eleonora wrote for the Wall Street Journal’s Masterpiece Column in 2015.                 Eleonora was an avid gardener and grew beautiful roses at her homes in Georgetown and Eagles Mere.     She was an adventurous traveler who had a particular interest in remote islands.   She and her husband traveled widely including recently to such far-flung places as Antarctica, Easter Island, South Georgia Island, the Falklands Islands, the Faroe Islands, and throughout the South Pacific.  She was proud to have successfully journeyed to the world’s most remote inhabited island Tristan da Cunha.                 But Eleonora most loved spending time in Eagles Mere, walking on the Laurel Path, watching sunsets from her deck, wandering around her garden and spending time with her husband and friends and family.                 In addition to her husband, Eleonora is survived by her many friends, family members and colleagues in the United States, Italy and elsewhere.   A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, August 24, 2017, 10:30 am, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown.    Family will receive friends at the church prior to the service starting at 9:30 am.                 A memorial service will also be held Saturday, August 26, 2017, 10:30 am, at the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel in Eagles Mere, followed by interment at the Eagles Mere Cemetery.                 Memorial contributions may be made to the Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University.   Donations can be made at or by calling 202-687-2222.   Please specify the Ruesch Center.             Funeral arrangements are under the direction to the P. Dean Homer Funeral Home, 206 Water St., Dushore, PA 18614.             To send condolences or sign the e-guestbook, please go to                 To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Eleonora "Sunshine" Luciano, please visit our flower store.


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