At first glance this might look like another “Saving Grace” or surrogate mourning figure.  But the details of  Herman Luyties’ (1871-1921) monument in the famed Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis is far more interesting than mere graveyard symbolism.  This bodacious beauty is a sculpted marble likeness of an Italian model that Herman met around the turn of the 20th Century while he was touring Italy.  Luyties was a highly successful St. Louis businessman who toured Europe.  While there, he fell in love with the voluptuous Italian and asked for her hand in marriage.  She declined.  He left the country broken hearted and without the love of his life.  But, before Luyties left Italy he commissioned a sculptor to replicate his true love in stone.  The statue that now adorns his grave, first graced the entryway of his home–a constant reminder of unrequited love.  The sculpture, weighing several tons, was moved from his home to the cemetery.  When the sculpture started to weather, Luyties had the monument front glassed in which is how the monument gained the moniker, “the girl in the shadow box.”

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2 Responses to Jilted

  1. Mary Kim Schreck says:

    I also heard that Luyties took the statue with him on board a steamer as he traveled the United States… Bellefontaine is one of my favorite cemeteries. I used to take classes of students there for a field trip to view the grave stones, the architecture, the whole process… the grounds keeper used to give us a private tour of the Key Room with all the keys to the underground mausoleums, as well as above ground ones… he showed up the old documents, told us stories that never made the brochures. It was wonderful. One year I attempted to book a field trip and found out he had been shot and killed while on duty touring the grounds. LOVE YOUR BLOG!

  2. Robb Clouse says:

    The story is fascinating, but seeing the monument really brings it to life…ironically. Beautiful – thanks for sharing both!

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