Mother and the Pilgrim

Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

Many large urban cemeteries have not only incredible pieces of sculpture as memorials but have other commissioned works of art to commemorate important dates in the history of the graveyard. Two such sculptures were commissioned for the Bohemian National Cemetery at Chicago, Illinois, by the famed Czech-American sculptor, Albin Polasek (February 14, 1879 – May 19, 1965). Polasek was a prolific artist who created hundreds of works during his famed career.

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The Bohemian National Cemetery commissioned Polasek to create a sculpture for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the cemetery. Polasek created a bronze tribute to motherhood, aptly titled, Mother, which stands in front of the cemetery’s crematorium. A mother figure holds a baby to her breast while her son stands next to her holding a torch with one hand and clutching to his Mothers’ robe with the other.

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The second sculpture was completed only a year later by Polasek for the Stejskal-Buchal family to stand in front of their mausoleum.

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The cloaked and hooded figure titled, The Pilgrim, has been mistaken for the grim reaper—sallow, gaunt, and walking with a stick toward the mausoleum door—a haunting visage.

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