Neo-Classical Angel

The neo-classical angel on this white marble gravestone in the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio, looks downward with a sorrowful expression as she leans against the torch, the flames curling at its base.   The beautifully carved bas-relief angel is on a gravestone from the 1850s.  Unfortunately the name of the deceased is difficult to discern.

The flame on the gravestone is symbolic of the soul.  The inverted torch represents a life that has been extinguished.  Angels are popular images found in cemeteries throughout the world.  The English word “angel,” is derived from the Greek word “aggelos” meaning messenger or herald.  Here the angel brings the news that a life has been lost.

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3 Responses to Neo-Classical Angel

  1. gsb03632 says:

    Thank you! Everything about this monument is handsomely done and it provokes great interest. I love the texture of the boulder foundation, the ringlets of the hair and the diadem/garland on the head. The image is wonderfully crisp, especially the wings and the drapery on the torch.

  2. Seauton says:

    The description uses the pronoun “she”, which almost certainly should be “he”, especially if the gravestone is from the 1850s, as the description notes. Virtually all sculptural/cemetery angels until the late XIXth century were male; moreover it is extremely rare in any time for an angel with a downward torch (referred to as a “Thanatos” angel) to be female.

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