Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Angel of Grief


(All photos will enlarge when clicked on)

This beautiful tombstone is the 1910 Cassard Monument, found in Green-Wood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark cemetery, dating back to 1838, located in Brooklyn, New York.  This poignant figure of an angel is known as the "Angel of Grief" or "The Weeping Angel."  It is modeled after a 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story, which serves as the grave stone of both the artist and his wife, located in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.

William Wetmore Story was born to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1819, and graduated from Harvard College in 1838 and Harvard Law School in 1840.  He left the practice of law to become a sculptor and relocated to Italy in 1848.  His most famous sculpture is "Cleopatra," which is part of the collection of The Metropolitan Museum Of Art in New York City.

Sometime over the last hundred years the Cassard angel had lost her hand that dangles over the monument, and there is an effort to raise funds to restore this statue to its original state through the Green-Wood Cemetery's "Saved In Time" program.

My husband and I have been volunteers at Green-Wood Cemetery for the past six years, and we have helped with the Civil War Veteran project and other Historic Fund Projects. You can read more about this magnificent cemetery in previous blogs posts that I wrote by following this link.


This second  mosaic is another tombstone also located in Green-Wood Cemetery which  depicts the "Angel Of Grief.".  The monument is identified only by the name "O'Donahue." This angel's hand holds a wreath. According to Rochester's History -  Glossary of Victorian Cemetery Symbolism   "the use of a wreath, garlands and festoons as a funerary symbol dates back to ancient Greek times and it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption.
The laurel wreath is usually associated with someone who has attained distinction in the arts, literature, athletics or the military. The ivy wreath is symbolic of conviviality (gaiety or joviality). The wreath and festoon together symbolize memory."

The remarkable and emotional realism of the "Angel of Grief" has made it famous, and it has become a copied funeral monument model all over the world, especially in the United States, where many reproductions of the work can be found .

Perhaps there is one in a cemetery in your area? 

There are many beautiful sculptures and monuments in Green-Wood Cemetery that I would like to show  from time to time, as the stories behind them are fascinating and historical.  It is a place I never tire of exploring!

* Edited to add this beautiful prose written by William Wetmore Story, which seems very apropos for his Angel of Grief sculpture:
"But the gray and the cold are haunted
By a beauty akin to pain, --
By a sense of a something wanted,
That never will come again.”

I am linking this post to Susan's "Outdoor Wednesday" event on her blog A Southern Daydreamer.
Please visit Susan's blog to find her outdoor post and links to other  participating blogs.






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40 comments:

Maggie B said...

Beautiful mosaics, the sculptures are wonderful.
Maggie

The Little Red Shop said...

What lovely sculptures. Thank you for sharing!

: )

Julie M.

Riet said...

What beautiful monuments. I have never seen such beautiful tombstones.

Gena D said...

Hi Pat - lovely mosaics ... love the detail of the flowers (forefront) which really enhance the mosaic as a whole
Gena @ thinking aloud
South Africa
http://tobethinkingaloud.blogspot.com/

Jojo said...

That is absolutely beautiful. No doubt the sculpture captures the heavy-heartedness of grief. The art and history in some of our cemeteries is so often overlooked. A wonderful post!

Jenny said...

I love this statue. I used a picture of her on the letter I wrote for my sisters memorial. This was a bitter-sweet post for me. But a lovely one as all of yours are. Thank you.

mbkatc230 said...

I love this post Pat. There is so much history and beauty to be found in these old cemeteries. The sculptures really are lovely, and your photos are beautiful. Kathy

Melanie said...

What amazing sculptures. The cemeteries around here have mainly standing angels- I shared them last Christmas. I hope the hand goes get fixed.

La Petite Gallery said...

Found this post most interesting.

Oh! Yes, do another one.
I have several friends that love to visit the old cemetery's around here in Maine. They do rubbings. Also so some funny sayings on the 1700 tombstones.
yvonne

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, This is such a beautiful and educational post. Your mosaics are art worthy, and the history behind the monument is romantic and interesting. Thanks once again for enlightening me.
♥, Susan

Vee said...

No, I don't recall ever seeing an angel of grief until today. What lovely sculptures. Thank you for providing the background story as well.

Rhonda @ Shellbelle's Tiki Hut said...

Odd, but my comment didn't show up. Let me try this again.

This is the most beautiful, touching sculpture I have ever seen and I love exploring old cemeteries.

I believe that one of the first posts I ever read on your blog was about the Civil War Veteran project and I as someone who has searched in vain for family members lost in that war, I want to thank you for what you do.

Tracy said...

This angel is heartbreakingly beautiful... what a wonder! I find cemeteries with such sculpture and tombs so interesting from an artistic perspective. We don't have a cemetery like that here locally... just very "modern" slab-like grave markers. When did the poetry stop in cemeteries? Thanks for this lovely and informative post, Pat! :o) ((HUGS))

Sea Witch said...

So much emotion in this lovely scuplture. I am familiar with this cemetary as my mother used to enjoy walking through it during spring and fall days in the city. Sea Witch

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Beautiful photos...lovely mosaic...and an informing post, as always. The angel of grief is new to me.

Cait O'Connor said...

I am a lover of all things Angel. I had not heard of the Angel of Grief....absolutely beautiful, thank you for the photos and details and for calling by at my blog via Vee.

Nola @ the Alamo said...

How tragically beautiful! I'll have to check our local cemeteries for similar monuments.

Just a little something from Judy said...

In daily life so many people give their lives helping out in many unique ways. You and your husband helping out with this cemetary is a great example. Behind the scenes, doing what needs to be done. I commend you both for that. Once again I find myself learning so much from your posts. I never heard of the "Angel of Grief" until today. Great post!

grey like snuffie said...

What amazing sculptures...

Lorrie said...

Pat these are magnificent sculptures--so realistic and evocative of emotion. I can see why they would be copied. What a neat experience for you and your husband to volunteer at the cemetary. It sounds like a fascinating place.

chubskulit said...

All angles of your pictures are all great!

Icicles for Outdoor Wednesday, have a nice day!

Elisa Day said...

Oh now I understand! What a lovely sculpture. I love Nightwish music, on one of their cds they have this cover image Nightwish

Light and Voices said...

Fantastic collages.
Joyce M

RNSANE said...

This beautiful statue is what I would want if I were going to actually be in a cemetery which I'm not. She is so expressive, draped in mourning as she is. Or are angels males or non gender? I'm not sure.

As always, your post is so interesting and filled with information and links to more information.

Sara said...

How beautiful those sculptures are. Now I am curious as it there are any here in our two cemeteries. Think I will go exploring in the spring.

happilyretired said...

Beautiful angels ... lovely mosaics.
Hugs and blessings,

Annalisa said...

Beautiful sculptures, breath taking photos..A wonderful, poetic post, it inspires me.
Annalisa

Claudia said...

Achingly beautiful. As is the poem.

Willow said...

The angel is so expressive. I can see the grief in her pose.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Beautiful! I love the moss growing on that beautiful angel!

Annesphamily said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

Marg said...

Amazing. Thanks for sharing this.
I never would of thought that you needed volunteers at a cemetery.
What a wonderful way to serve.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

This is a beautiful post and really so appropriate...I think the angels are indeed weeping today. Thank you so SO much for featuring my Haiti auction so prominently on your blog!! I am happy to report we're up to $75 and since most Haitians "live" on $2 a day (the country's minimum wage, I believe), $75 will help a lot. Much love from the shorehouse...Laura xoxox

Gracie said...

I guess I saw one in Genoa's Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno a few years ago.
Gracie @ http://mylittleplace.blog.com

Paz said...

Stunning photo; stunning sculpture. This is the first time I've seen or read about it. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Paz

PEA said...

Oh my, how beautiful are those two Angels of Grief! I had never seen that statue before so I was quite interested in reading about the original artist who first sculptured her. I will have to try to find out if that statue is in any of our cemeteries here in Northern Ontario!! xoxo

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Just looking at this sculpture is so moving. Such beauty. I loved learning the history too. What an interesting post. laurie

Fifi Flowers said...

LOVE the angels!

Kate on Clinton said...

Such poignant sculptures and photos. This is another place I've got to go see - I know they have tours. Spring would be nice.

Frances said...

Oh ..... I am sooooooo heartbroken that I did not discover this statue while I was at Green-Wood! My son took a photo of an Angel of Grief in a cemetery in Montreal. I would have fainted with emotion if I had seen this one. It touches such a deep place in the heart, doesn't it? And I love the words you have added. How powerful. I WILL return to Green-Wood one day, and I WILL find this oh-so-moving sculpture. Thank you so much for highlighting such wonderful things. I love cemetery art and am so happy you have occasional postings from this beautiful site. Your photographs are beautiful.