Pieta, Indiana Style

Clear Creek Church Christian Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana

The Harold and Pauline Elgar monument in the Clear Creek Christian Church Cemetery at Bloomington, Indiana, features an example of a pieta.  Here The Virgin Mary tenderly holds the limp and dead body of Jesus Christ, clutching Him close, her head bowed in sorrow.  The white marble sculpture is reminiscent of the sculptures that were first popularized in Germany depicting the Lamentation.

In the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2001.78 (October 2006)) a Bohemian Pieta on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is described in details that as easily could apply to the monument at Clear Creek, “Images of the Virgin with the dead Christ reflect late medieval developments in mysticism that encouraged a direct, emotional involvement in the biblical stories… The sculptor exploits the formal and psychological tensions inherent in the composition…Christ’s broken, emaciated body, naked except for the loincloth, offers a stark contrast to the Virgin’s youthful figure, clad in abundant folds.”

The sculptor, Harold Dugan Elgar, carved this statue in 1968, as it turns out for his own grave.  Elgar was far from the origin of this type of religious artwork but was schooled successfully in the art of stonecarving.

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