The Day’s Eye

PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF

OUR DEAR MOTHER

CONCETTA PAINO

NATIVE OF LIPARI, ITALY

DIED 1ST JAN. 1928,

AGED 60 YEARS

A COLONIST OF 40 YEARS

MY DEAR HUSBAND

ANGELO PAINO

NATIVE OF LIPARI, ITALY

DIED 13TH NOV. 1936

AGED 62 YEARS

A COLONIST OF 40 YEARS

This magnificent angel in the Cheltenham Memorial Park in Cheltenham, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, is depicted with her head bowed downward—a sign of grief and despair.  The angel looks almost as if she collapsed on the top of the tomb, her legs folded underneath her limp body.  One single stain on the face of the white marble sculpture looks like a tear stain which gives her a heightened sense of loss. She loosely clutches a spray of daisies the grip of her fingers beginning to give way.

The word “daisy” is derived from an Old English word meaning “Day’s Eye.”  The religious symbolism of the daisy represents the innocence of the child and the purity of thought.  The secular meanings include harmony because the flower is like a composite of two flowers in one.  This could be related to the tomb’s inhabitants, Mr. and Mrs. Paino, and a represent a carved demonstration of their love for each other.  The daisy can also represent new beginnings.  Those who are Christians see death not as an ending but the transition from the Earthly Realm to the Heavenly one.  The last and ultimate new beginning.

The sculpture is protected by a canopy with a stained glass ceiling.  The stained glass features the dove and the cross—both motifs commonly found in Christian cemeteries.  The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity while the dove represents the Holy Spirit descending upon the Earth.

The main element of the tomb, of course, is the angel at the center.  When we see a winged figure in a cemetery, we instantly recognize it as an angel–a messenger of God.  However, Christian art did not depict angels with wings until the fourth century.  Before then, angels were represented in several different forms–sometimes in human form, but also represented as a dove, or even just as a hand reaching down to Earth from the Heavens. Beginning with the reign of Constantine in the 4th Century, angels began being depicted with wings, as we portray them today.  The wings of this angel curl underneath her right arm and over her left leg.  She is dressed in classical robes but the band around her hair has a 1920s style to it.

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