A Simpler Version

The Belmont Mausoleum, in the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, is a near replica of the Chapel of Saint Hubert; the original in Amboise, France—the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci.

The Murphy Family mausoleum in the Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California, was designed with the Chapel of Saint Hubert as the inspiration.  While many of the more elaborate elements of the original do not appear in the Murphy mausoleum, such as the lintel sculpture, gargoyles, and tracery, it is easy to see that the basic design of the original exists in this tomb.

The mausoleum was designed in 1921 as the final resting place for San Francisco dry goods merchant Daniel T. Murphy (1863-1919). Murphy played a major role in the development of California.

Instead of the sculpture in the pointed arch above the door depicting King Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany kneeling in deference to the Madonna and Child, this sculpture only has two kneeling angels paying homage to Mary and the Christ child.

The two-door opening in the Belmont Mausoleum and the original chapel is cut down to one door in this simplified design.  Here the arch is supported by columns instead of resting above the lintel.  This is called an “order.”  Here the term order is used to refer to an arched molding supported in columns which was a common architectural device used during the Romanesque and Gothic periods.

The gable on the front of the chapel features a trefoil, three-lobed form, but in this version is in not within a roundel, a small circular frame.

The balustrade above the arch is ornamented with pointed arches and tracery, far less decorative than in the original design of Saint Hubert’s Chapel.

Comparing these two mausoleums is like playing those find-what’s-different games in the back of children’s magazines.  While they definitely have differences it is easy to see that the basic design and inspiration for both tombs are the same–one a replica and one based on the original.

This entry was posted in Mausoleums, Symbolism. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Simpler Version

  1. Beautiful and so interesting too.

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