Possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen was a statute in a graveyard. A life-size angel towering above a grave, right hand pointing accusingly towards the sky. The look on its face was one of both extreme desperation and eternal gratitude, eyes both pleading and full of fury.
The function of this statue was to defend and protect his dead charge no matter who it may have been and no matter what they may have done in life. God and the angels in heaven had to be able to look upon this stone creature and have pity on the soul that lay beneath its feet. This statue was not created for decoration or adornment but as permanent plea for mercy.
It is ‘almost’ a miracle the way a cold inanimate substance like stone can be literally brought to life, with all the intensity and emotional complexity of a human being, even though its centre is solid stone and there is no beating heart. Designed to watch over us for all eternity, weathered and beaten, covered in moss, flaking, broken limbs, they plead as vehemently for our salvation as the day they were created.
Sculptors of the human form, like Bernini, to me are exceptional. They are blessed with the ability to replicate life with such physical and emotional accuracy – even seemingly capturing the ‘essence’ that is not physical – in a medium that is difficult to manipulate without sheer force. We are left wondering how it is even possible.
Romantics aside though, many of these sculptures are not made by hand anymore and are now mass produced, either moulded or created by machines. As well as stone (usually marble), many are made of bronze and coated for effect. Those with money to do so can design and commission their own statue or monument to be remembered by.
Graveyards can indeed be very frightening places, but there is also a hidden beauty … not in death, but in ‘life that was’ and how the dead are remembered by the living.
I could not find very much information about the process of making graveyard statues. If anyone knows how it is done or has more information, please let me know either in the comments or via my contact page.
I did however manage to find the below videos that show the amazing process of bringing stone to life, by hand and machine.
(If you are viewing this via an RSS feed, you need to visit the site to watch the videos)
If you liked this post, please use the buttons below to share it or leave a comment. Thank you.