Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Angelic Art

Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA


"...when I look up to the sky, I swear I see angels of mercy looking down on me."
---The Badlees

The concept of angels is old, very old, and can be found in most religions, according to Douglas Keister in Stories in Stone.  The word angel is from the Greek word angelos, meaning "messenger," and the Islamic word for "messenger"---Mala'ika also is the Muslim word for angel.  In the Hebrew and Christians religions, angels are an integral part of Heaven, and they serve as God's messengers to His people on Earth.  In 19th century cemeteries, angels appear as stone messengers, showing the deceased the way to heaven, or offering comfort to those left behind, sometimes mourning right along with them.  Most angels appear as ageless and sexless beings, usually, with soft expressions on their youthful faces.  Some of them are cherubs (chubby Cupids), and they usually grace the graves of children.

Some angels are shown writing in a book or on a scroll, perhaps documenting the passing of the deceased.  When an angel is shown with a horn, it is usually Gabriel, God's first angelic messenger sent to announce to Mary that she was carrying Jesus.  An angel with a shield and/or sword is the fierce leader of God's angels, Michael.  Several of my pictures denote an angel outside of the tomb, pointing upward, and probably denotes one of the angels the Bible states to be at the tomb of Christ, rolling away the stone and helping him ascend to heaven.  I have found this carving on gravestones in several older cemeteries...I wonder if a Philadelphia stone mason or masonry company made them all?  They are so similar.

Angels in cemeteries, for me, really capture what I love about this past time of mine:  they are not signs of death---they are art.  Nineteenth century cemeteries, especially the ones designed as landscaped garden cemeteries, were the first art museums in this country.  Museums as we know them today did not exist, and the sculpture that stone masons were able to create and install in these peaceful outdoor places of repose and solitude served as real exposure to art for many visitors.  And they still do that, for me, anyway, inspiring me.  The marvelous end-product that someone helped to emerge from a stone...well, it's really quite angelic to me.

Christ Church Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA


Durham Cemetery, Durham, PA


East Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Prompton Cemetery, Prompton, PA

Hollisterville Cemetery, Hollisterville, PA

Indian Creek Christ Reformed Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Italian Cemetery, Jessup, PA

Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA

Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA

Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Montgomery Baptist Cemetery, Montgomeryville, PA

Late 18th Century Depictions of Cherubs, Richlandtown Cemetery, Richlandtown, PA

Nicholson Cemetery, Nicholson, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Old Honesdale Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Overfield Cemetery, Meshoppen, PA

Overfield Cemetery, Meshoppen, PA

Richlandtown Cemetery, Richlandtown, PA

Ridge Valley Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA

St. Cecelia's Cemetery, Hill Top, PA

St. John's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA

St. Luke's UCC Cemetery, Belfast, PA

Zinc Angel, Stockport Cemetery, Stockport, PA

Thompson Cemetery, Thompson, PA

Trumbauersville UCC Cemetery, Trumbauersville, PA

West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

East Bangor Cemetery, E. Bangor, PA

Thompson Cemetery, Thompson, PA


Zinc Angels, Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

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