Beautiful Doors of Death

epiminondas writes:

Among the most beautiful objects of art ever created are the funerary monuments which are to be found scattered around the world in all cultures. Worldwide, there are about ten cemeteries which claim special attention, and among those is the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  You can view these magnificent monuments in many ways: as architectural statements, as masterpieces of sculpture, stone carving, and stone masonry; as bronze artisanship and mastery in casting; and as works in precision glass artistry. It’s all here and in a variety of styles ranging from Classical, Gothic, Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Baroque. The monuments were built beginning in 1822 to the present day. And most are breathtaking. I imagine the feeling one got from walking along the Appian Way 2,000 years ago while viewing those ancient Roman tombs must have been similar to the feeling engendered today during a visit to Recoleta.

I chose primarily to focus on the works of doors and windows in this slideshow, most of them created from amazing bronze castings. You won’t believe the artistic genius behind these wonderful pieces. Most of them were designed and cast in Paris and Milan. As the slideshow progresses, you will simply be overwhelmed by the variety and beauty of these funerary Doorways To Death. The music is the Miserere of Allegri, written sometime in the 1630’s and performed by the Tallis Scholars.

Click on the jump to enjoy a collection of still photos of the Recoleta Cemetery.

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8 Responses to Beautiful Doors of Death

  1. Amazing stuff, great slideshow and pics. I’ve certainly visited some moving and impressive cemeteries but I had no idea there was such a great culture of them, or that some of them hit this kind of peak.

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  2. epiminondas says:

    The visible mausoleums you see in the cemetery itself are only the above ground portion. When one enters one of these monuments, there are stairs which lead down to three, four, or five more levels below ground. Generations of the same family are neatly stacked in catacombs. Naturally, these are closed to the public. But it would be interesting to visit the levels below as the families themselves do on occasion. Not to worry: all caskets are lead sealed.

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  3. epiminondas says:

    Someone made a video of the visible interiors of the above ground mausoleums where it was possible to poke a camera inside… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByhHvzzUuBM

    It’s a bit morbid, but the beautiful detailed work is carried on inside these mausoleums, as well.

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  4. Sherbrooke says:

    The video was a bit too much for me in some ways, but I found all of this just extraordinary. I usually find graveyards and cemeteries very peaceful, but compared to this, the ones I know are certainly humble. Beyond their stature as works of art, the blood, sweat and tears involved in creating the sculpture and glass for this particular purpose is moving.

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  5. Great photos. And a lovely recording of Allegri’s Misere.

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