Memorial redux

While doing some online research on memorials, monuments and art, I came across this quirky website address which comingled all three terms:

It's a firm in Utah, which purveys memorials (gravestones). A simple premise, yes, but on their "history" page, I found a wonderful old photograph, which is more than slightly reminiscent of Constantin Brancusi's studio (see above).

Here one encounters another wrinkle in the relationships between art and memorials. The etched bucolic scenes, commemorating your loved one's hereafter: is it art? If you think not, why is that so? Wherein lies the difference between Venturi's monument (see two posts ago), which we might be more prone to call "art," and these granite memorials? Is it purpose/intent? Is it because Venturi's expression bespeaks more of Modernity, therefore more "recognizable" art formalities, than the cottage lanes, angels, lambs or flowers? Does it then come down to sentimentality?

Dale Zimmer  – (Wednesday, 09 November, 2005)  

We take our dog for regular walks in a local cemetery. I've been intrigued by gravestone design through the past hundred years. It's not quite as easy as identifying the architectural styles of houses, but there do seem to be styles that fit into broader design trends. I've never before thought of someone focusing on "gravestone design!"

GIERSCHICK  – (Wednesday, 09 November, 2005)  

I definitely agree about certain designs of gravestones fitting into trends. Our church is right next to a large, mostly Jewish cemetery, and it does seem evident that in certain decades, certain gravestone styles were more popular. One of my particular favorites is a monument that looks like a large pine log, trimmed of its branches, set up on end on a marble or limestone slab. It creates this strange mix of the natural form of a log, which is prone to relatively quick decomposition, reproduced in the more "memorial" - significantly more durable - stone.

Alicia  – (Saturday, 12 November, 2005)  

Not all old gravestones are bucolic and sentimental...some late 18th-century stones feature things like winged skulls. This website shows some from Cape Cod:
Go to the bottom of the page and you'll see a list of gravestone styles, which links to pictures of the actual stones. Pretty macabre stuff in some cases. :-)

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