Monday, April 2, 2018

"Face to face with 'Angel of Grief' in Campo Cestio Cemetery Rome" - by K.J.S.Chatrath


I visited the Campo Cestio or the Protestant's Cemetery in  Rome. It is a huge and impressive cemetery. One of the important graves that I visited was of Emelyn Story and her husband W.W.Story where I came face to face with 'Angel of Grief'.

First a brief backgrounder on who was W.W. Story and what is 'Angel of Grief'. William Wetmore Story was an American sculptor, art critic, poet, and editor.

  William Wetmore Story
 (Photo source: Wikipedia)

Story died at Vallombrosa Abbey, Italy, a place to which he had a sentimental attachment, and which he chronicled in an informal travel journal, Vallombrosa in 1881. He is buried with his wife, Emelyn Story, in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome, under a statue of his own design- Angel of Grief. Its full title as given by the creator was The Angel of Grief Weeping Over the Dismantled Altar of Life.

The term is now used to describe multiple grave stones throughout the world erected in the style of the Story stone. A feature in The Guardian called the design "one of the most copied images in the world".[1] Story himself wrote that "It represents the angel of Grief, in utter abandonment, throwing herself with drooping wings and hidden face over a funeral altar. "[2]

Source of the above photo: Wikipedia

(1) Stanford, Peter (2 March 2013). "The 10 best... famous graves". The Guardian.

(2) James, Henry (2015). William Wetmore Story and His Friends (abridged and annotated ed.). Big Byte Books. 

(Text with inputs from the internet)

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