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I swear that there's a variation of this famous cemetery statue in a graveyard somewhere in Vermont. I swear that I found a black and white, full-page photo of it in some book of grave iconography somewhere in the state and photocopied it and put it on my wall -- it was that beautiful.

I really don't have an emotional reaction to much modern cemetery iconography, but I love the Angel of Grief. She looks like she has just tumbled from the sky to the edge of the grave in question. Her limp, dejected hand, from which has dropped the branch she was carrying, expresses most eloquently her devastation. She is no prim, restrained angel, with meek eyes turned skyward in diffident supplication; she is a human and earthy creature, drawn down hard by the gravity of grief. She is grieving with her whole body. She embodies grief. William Wetmore Story, the sculptor, captures with great tenderness and sensitivity the human perception of grief: a heaviness in one's heart so dire that it can pull winged beings from the sky and turn them to stone.

Awesomely enough, miniature versions of the Angel of Grief exist [here's one], a sign to me that clearly I should create a Victorian 1:6 scale cemetery set and make a little Angel of Grief the centerpiece. The zombies of Vermont would say, "Let's meet at the grieving angel." She'd need some weathering, though... Here's a technique for faux concrete that may help...


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