Thursday, 30 December 2010

Some old gems from the Prazeres Cemetery, Lisboa

Here are some gems i'd like to show you. They are quite dark and gloomy but that only reflects a main  purpose of my blog (where the other is about beauty).

The Skull is quite often a symbol to be found on portugese cemeteries and they come in a surprising variety. But before we get to the skulls i'd like to show you this one:

What really gets me is the death-mask of the man buried there. The whole grave is a stunning piece of art.

Now to the skulls. Here follows a collection of the ones i've found there.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Merry Christmas to all of you!

I'm not sure if i'm able to do more posts until Christmas so i'm using this opportunity to wish all my readers a merry Christmas!

2010 was a very good year for me when it comes to cemeteries: I've visited a fair number of them (and thankfully the majority wasn't dull) and i've made about 2.500  pictures worthwhile to keep...

Here's a list of the most notable Cemeteries i've visisted:

Budapest, Kerepesi Cemetery
Budapest, Farkasr├ęti Cemetery
London, Highgate Cemetery
London, Kensal Green Cemetery
Italy, Cimitero Monumentale di Milano
Italy, Camposanto di Staglieno, Genoa
Italy, Cimitero La Spezia
Hamburg, Ohlsdorf Cemetery
Hamburg, Niendorf Cemtery
Hamburg, Nienstedt Cemetery
Herford, Marienfriedhof
Bielefeld, Johannisfriedhof
Minden, Nordfriedhof
Aberdeen, Nellfield Cemetery

These are the ones that really were worth a visit. I've seen many others as well but frankly, they were quite dull and depressing.

Which gets me straight to the point: Personally i'm not a big friend of Christmas. But i understand that the rest of the christian world is very fond of it. So i'm not going to spoil it for you by ranting on about the absurdity it means to me. On the contrary i'm giving you a christmas present: An Angel that will hopefully light your day and even the next year...

Just one thing though for you all: Try this as a background for browsing my pictures here. It's worth it!

And another last word: Here's one that reminds me at least remotely of Christmas:

Monday, 13 December 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova - Shadowplay-

Another Title from Joy Division but not another cover...

This looks a little bit like a dementor but since i'm a muggle that was just my imagination.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: Irregular Section Part II

The irregular Section of the Staglieno Cemetery offers some real huge tombs. The Capella Raggio (1895) (Architect: Luigi Rovelli)) was inspired of the Milan Duomo, a huge gothic cathedral.

To show the opposite here's a detail of a forged iron fence that went on for at least a hundred meters.

It's a true masterpiece of forging and just wonder how much that would cost today?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Something to Celebrate: Today the 1,000th visitor arrived!

And to celebrate it properly i've selected one of my all-time favourite pictures:

It was taken at the 29th March this year in Budapest.

The next post will continue with the Camposanto Staglieno, Genoa.

Thanks to all the visitors here. There are not many who give me direct feedback but the statistics tell me that there are quite a few regular visitors here.

Stay tuned! I'm sure it's worth it!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: Is he really buried here?

I guess not since the name is nothing else than "Neuhaus" in German or Newhouse in English. Still it's a cheap giggle, isn't it?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: Irregular Section

Here are two pictures we've taken at the irregular section at the Staglieno Cemetery. The hills are quite steep and it turned out to be a real outdoor hiking trip to get to the top of it. Still it was a very rewarding thing to do because there is so much to discover there.

This angel reminds me of the angels i've seen on english cemetery like Highgate, Kensal Green or Brompton and discovering it in italy was a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: Autumn Impressions

Just a short post today: Two images that capture the atmosphere of autumn (or fall for the fellow readers from the USA)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: The work of Santo Varni (from my point of view)

The famous sculptor Santo Varni (1807-1885) was famous especially for two sculptures he did in Genoa:

The huge statue "Allegory of Faith" which is in the center of the cemetery and the "Monument to Christopher Columbus" in Genoa. I made a picture of the Allegory myself so i don't need to link somwhere else. It's a huge one (about 9 Meters high) and though it is an impressing work of art i would't consider it the best of him. Take a look for yourself....

His best work as far as i'm concerned is his own tomb. His wife passed away before him and he made a sculpture of her which is astonishingly beautiful.

Especially her back, her feet and the draped clothing around her.... It's an amazingly and stunningly beautiful piece of art.

Don't ask me why he put that dog beside her but as you can see it was easy for me to take some pictures that ignore that dog.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: The Joy Division Connection

I know that some of you connect the Staglieno Cemetery with Joy Division. That's only a few steps away if you're into beauty and death. And gloomy music.....For those of you who don't know what i'm on about: Here are some links:

Joy Division
Love will tear us apart
Bernard Pierre Wolf

My desire to see these Covers in reality and to take pictures of them was growing over the years. It was very moving for me to be there at last. And the really good thing about it was that i wasn't disappointed which is often the case if you visit the things that were (and are) important to you. However, enough of my meaningless blah blah and let's get straight to the pictures:

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova: The Oneto Tomb

Let's get over with it. I know that it is mandatory to show at least one picture of the famous Angel of the Oneto-Tomb. Sorry for linking to the german Wikipedia; the english lacks the entry. Not my bad.

It was made by Giulio Monteverde (the english Entry is a bit poor.... Try the german one if you can...)

Strange thing though: There are quite opposite opinons about the Angel: Some Boffin in the German Wikipedia is convinced (i wonder why?) that she is not the usual grieving angel attached to the deceased but in contrary she is lacking interest for the one she's supposed to guard and that she's distant, closed and unfathomable.

I happen to have a copy of a book (printed in the 20s of the last century) and i'll quote what it says about that particular Angel:

....The Angel, who guards the urn, is admired for the perfect moulding of the arms, neck and head, the deep and soft expression of grief which appears on his features....

So much about being distant and not atttached. 

In my opinion these discussions doesn't matter at all. The point is: It is a marvellous and unbelievably beautiful Sculpture.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Camposanto di Staglieno, Genova

This was the big one. It's very difficult for me to put it in words; nonetheless i'll try....

As i mentioned before the cemetery in Milano was huge. But -and that's the really astonishing thing- it is small compared to Staglieno. And again: Nothing prepared me for the sheer size of it. It is absolutely mindboggling!

Here are some facts about it:

The surface covers 330.000 m² (which is more than one million square feet).
There are 117.600 Tombs including 290 chapels and 468 niches inside the vast galleries.
The brochure we got from the office (for free) states that there are more than 2 million people buried there...

We didn't made it in one day there. But even after two days we didn't see all of it.

To get an impression how outstanding this cemetery is i give you two numbers: We shot 287 Photos in Milano (actually it was way more but these are the ones which deserve to be preserved...)

At Staglieno we did 1.076! And that are only the good ones...

This picture shows one half of a gallery (and me moving: A rare thing...); every niche showing a sculpture. And there are 4 of these Galleries. Furthermore there are 2 huge semicircular galleries as well and a vast number of tombs at the irregular area. It has a Protestant, Greek-Orthodox, Islam, Jewish and even an English Area.

It's a  bit sad though that the Staglieno Cemetery is often reduced to the Oneto-Tomb (which is marvellous by the way). There is soo much more to discover as you will see over the next few weeks...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy Part VI

This is my last post about the Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, for the time being. I don't want to bore you away with another praise about that location and will go straight to the pictures:

The last one is one of the craziest Grave i've ever seen. It's the "the last supper" and instead of Jesus they put the deceased in the center. And it's life-size. Not a miniature! 

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy Part V: Two beauties...

..... they both leave me speechless because i'm lacking the appropriate words. Again it was a good thing that it was raining because the wet texture on the sculptures is quite unusual. I've seen a lot of pictures from italian cemeteries but they don't have that. So it's good to see that i've made something special here. 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy Part IV: The evil ones.....

Jep. There's not just grief and beauty. There is also fear, death and terror!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy Part III

Since the weather here is truly dreadful (it's not that dreadful - but it is fraggin' cold!) i thought i'll show some more from Milano. It was about 15 degrees warmer so in retrospective the rain wasn't that bad...

Thanks to the vast main Building you can visit this Cemetery on any weather conditions and still see plenty of angels and other gems of beauty.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy Part II

Less text, more Photos this time.

The second one is made by me, but it reminds me, oddly enough, of a cover of a book i own for a long time....

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy - First Part of many i guess...

Dear Readers,

yesterday we came back from our short trip to Italy. My wife and me spent a few days there - mainly to tackle the famous cemeteries there.

We arrived last Sunday and unfortunatly it was raining. But that couldn't stop us to drive directly into Milano and visit the Cimitero Monumentale. I've seen a lot of pictures of it before my visit there and i thought i knew at least roughly what to expect.

But no Google Earth, Flickr or even printed books about that cemetery could prepare me for this. I often read descriptions of it like "It's a beautiful place" or "Plenty of Angels: It's worth a visit!" But nobody told me how big it is:

It is shockingly huge!

It was crammed and packed with beautiful, interesting and stunning sculptures and soon i was lost and speechless. As i said nothing could prepare me for the sheer size of it. I was standing there and i was covered in goosebumps.

Just some facts about our trip before we come to the first batch of photos: We had 2 DSLR's (a Canon 450d and a Canon 100d - which was borrowed by a very close friend of mine) and we had 4 lenses  (we used only 2 of them: a 50mm 1.8 II and a 70-200 4.0 L). We shot 679 pictures at Milano. It was quite a rush job, because we didn't had the time we wanted and we missed more than we saw. And while the rain was quite annoying it gave us at least some brilliant pictures because some sculptures are fairly dramatic if wet...

See for yourself:

Thankfully there were huge halls where we were safe and where we could see some angels in the dry: