Staglieno

Moderators: John, Sharon, Fossil, Lucky Poet, crusty_bint, Jazza, dazza

Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:04 pm

So back in May I finally made it to Staglieno, or to give it it’s full title, il Cimitero monumentale di Staglieno. I’d first seen the place on telly in a documentary series about unusual aspects of architecture about 4 years ago and had been keen to travel and have a keek at the place myself ever since.

Image
Staglieno

The vast site lies in the outskirts of the port city of Genova in my faravorite region of Italy, Liguria. It’s an entertaining half hour rattle on the number 43 bus from outside Principe railway station. The place opened on January 1851, with four burials that day. Those original four have multiplied to what must easily be hundreds of thousands of corpses in one of the largest graveyards in Europe.

Image

What makes the place so special however is not simply its scale (it has its own interior bus service to get mourners around) but the extraordinary quality and quantity of grand funeral architecture and monuments. There may not be many illustrious names here, unlike say, Pere Lachaise in Paris or Kensal Rise in London, but the bourgeois dead of the 19th and early 20th centuries have ensured this is a must see part of Italy.

Image

Image

Image

And yet it remains surprisingly unknown. None of my Italian friends had ever heard of it and on the site itself I found myself almost totally alone without a glimpse of another person for most of the afternoon I spent there. So huge is the ground to be covered I barely saw a third of it, that mostly confined to the colonnaded lower eastern half of the cemetery, so I’ll have to pay it another visit someday.

Image

No time to see the British and Commonwealth servicemen’s section, the English, Protestant or Jewish ones. I also missed the Appiani family tomb, which appears in a photo on the cover of Joy Division’s album CLOSER, though I saw the tomb below (so I had known something of the place for many years after all, I didn’t realise it until I got back to the UK).

Image
Love Will Tear Us Apart (12 inch single version)

Just a century earlier the only people who could have afforded to spend so lavishly on “eternity” would have been the landed upper classes who would appear immortalised in classical Roman or court dress. But here we see the newly arising 19th century Italian middle classes, citizens of a newly unified country confidently depicted as they were in life, the men clutching their bowler hats, the women dressed in the latest fashions in breath taking, life-like sculptures.

Image
Gallino family tomb

Image

Image

Image

The decades of dust covering most of the statues seems to only add to their power, the occasional glimpse of the pristine white marble they once were adding to the baroque melancholy of the spectacle.

Image

Image

As the 20th century begins much of the work becomes weirdly sensual, a real meeting of Venus and Thanatos in an explosion of (occasionally) conflicting styles depicting flesh in stone.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Staglieno is very much a working cemetery and crematorium, and the vast majority of deceased Genovese in the colonnaded section are interred in seemingly endless arcades, stacked simply in tiers just as they probably lived in the City’s jumble of high rise buildings clinging to the mountains surrounding the sea. Three stories tall with a basement and roof terrace.

Image
Basement

Image
Ground floor

Image

Image
Top floor

As is often the case with these places it’s the children’s graves which are most affecting, particularly here, where their depiction is so detailed and (presumably) accurate. The works are all life sized too or (occasionally) in a grander scale.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The cemetery is a surprisingly life affirming place to walk and think though, the sound of songbirds and the scent of Mediterranean pine combined with that dazzling Italian light meant I came away with powerful memories which are hard to shake.

Image

I feel another visit is definitely in order, life’s little accidents permitting.

Image
Port of Genova
Last edited by Toby Dammit on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:14 am

Fantastic!
rabmania
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Staglieno

Postby maxruby » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:08 am

Really interesting. Thanks for posting.
maxruby
First Stripe
First Stripe
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:01 am
Location: Sheffield via Dennistoun

Re: Staglieno

Postby HollowHorn » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:05 pm

Stunning.
User avatar
HollowHorn
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 8925
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:59 pm
Location: Paisley

Re: Staglieno

Postby Doorstop » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Astounding!
I like him ... He says "Okie Dokie!"
User avatar
Doorstop
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 6006
Joined: Tue May 22, 2007 9:07 am
Location: Guarding the Key to the Pie cupboard.

Re: Staglieno

Postby Lucky Poet » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:15 pm

Grand photos and a compelling commentary. Thanks for posting that, Toby.
All the world seems in tune on a Spring afternoon, when we're poisoning pigeons in the park.
User avatar
Lucky Poet
-
-
 
Posts: 4161
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:15 am
Location: Up a close

Re: Staglieno

Postby Vinegar Tom » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:37 pm

Toby Dammit wrote:
Image



Thanks for taking the time Toby. I really like that one.
Glasgow ya bas!
User avatar
Vinegar Tom
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 2347
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:59 pm
Location: Trying to find the exit from Black Mesa

Re: Staglieno

Postby jorjastandish » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:47 pm

Great photos!!!
jorjastandish
Just settling in
Just settling in
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:35 am

Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:25 pm

Image

Image

A few more, and why not?

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This stunning piece by Giovanni Scanzi (a number of who's works are in Staglieno) should come across as a kitsch imitation of Bernini's many dynamic, floating lovers, but such is the warmth and crispness of the carving that it stands alone as great work of art in it's own right. Made in 1915, the year of the sculptor's death and the year Italy fatefully entered WWI.

Not just stone, but stained glass is beautifully utilised.

Image

Image

As are mosaics, as in the 1964 tomb below.

Image

Many have left behind lively portraits which look particularly fine in the reflected Italian light.

Image

Image

Image

One of the few "big names" in the cemetery is Giuseppe Mazzini, second only to that other Giuseppe, Garibaldi, in importance in the Italian imagination. Mazzini was one of the great revolutionary figures of the 19th century or, from a different point of view, as described by Karl Marx as "that everlasting old ass."

Image

Image
Seemingly endless arcades

Image
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Staglieno

Postby saltirepride » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:25 am

WOW. 8O

Awesome, thanks for sharing this! :D
User avatar
saltirepride
First Stripe
First Stripe
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:44 pm
Location: Just out side Glasgow:(

Re: Staglieno

Postby Monument » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:02 pm

It's great to hear about places like this, and even better to see such brilliant pictures. Thank you Toby!
A vagabond on the way.
User avatar
Monument
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 1454
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:23 am
Location: Fife

Re: Staglieno

Postby Toby Dammit » Wed May 02, 2012 8:52 pm

Staglieno aside, there are two other vast graveyards filled with astounding sculpture in Italy, the Cimitero Monumentale in Milano and the Cimitero Monumentale in Torino, and earlier last month I visited the former. The light was a little chill and harsh, but as it chucked it down with rain during the rest of my stay I happened to have picked the right day to have a look.

Image

Unlike Staglieno the cemetery boasts a palatial facade to announce you have arrived at a place of civic importance. Designed by Carlo Maciachini, its wings draw in the visitor and it’s cloisters act as eye catching frames from some of the graveyard’s grandest (if rather conventional) sculpture groups.

Image

Image

Begun in 1863, with the first burials taking place three years later, the Monumetale is a short stroll uphill from the Garibaldi Metro station, though the entire area is currently a jumble of noisy building sites and cramped pedestrian walkways. Even the piazza outside the Monumentale itself is currently a large building site, adding to the racket inside the cemetery. Unlike Staglieno, which is more like a peaceful haven or garden, it’s Milanese equivalent is surrounded on two sides by very busy roads (plus the present building site) and a mainline railway, so the birds have to compete with incessant sirens, train and blaring car horns. The northern city intrudes in a way its more hectic Ligurian counterpart never does.

Image
The city intrudes

Like Staglieno it has its seemingly endless arcades, top floor modern niches and a kind of “mine’s bigger than yours” mentality which makes these places so compulsive, or as one anonymous commentator wrote in 1900, made the Milanese Monumentale “an arena of rivalry between the fattest purses and the most skilled chisels”.

Image

Image
The Last Kiss by Emilio Quadrelli, Volonte Vezzoli grave, 1889

Image

Image

Image
Bocconi Mausoleum (on the right)

Image
The Legacy of Love by Ernesto Bazzaro. Paolina Sioliand and Pasquale Crespi Mausoleum, 1908

Image
The Raising of Lazarus by Ernesto Bazzaro. Saquadrelli Mausoleum, 1911

In the centre of its facade is the Famedio, a wonderful domed hall commemorating the heroes of the Risorgimento, though few of them are actually buried here.

Image
Famedio

Image

Image

While Genova is a port, Milano is a great industrial city, and the crafts and professions of metal workers, architects, engineers and sculptors combine to give the work on display here a different, less dreamy, less erotic feel than the Mediterranean garden to the south. Milano boasts the most grandiose collection of Liberty style (Stile Floreale in Italian) mausolea in the country, showcasing sometimes brilliant, sometimes hideous, occasionally downright bizarre collaborations between artists, artisans and patrons.

Image
Pierd Houy family tomb, by Primo Giudici, 1901

Image

Image

Image

Dating from the same period were the Symbolists, who’s works appear near identical to the Liberty style, however Symbolism was fundamentally an idea, not a style. In a reaction to the crisis of faith following the age of revolutions and Darwin it aspired to say something significant about death now stripped of a sure and certain resurrection. The Liberty and Symbolist works had titles and were exhibited in International competitions and exhibitions gaining fame and commissions for their makers.

Image
Angel Born From a Rose Bush by Enrico Pancera. Famiglia Prada Corielli, 1920

Image
Detail of The Last Kiss by Michele Vedani, Bonelli family tomb, 1907

Symbolism’s greatest exponent was Leonardo Bistolfi, the “Poet of Death” and one of his greatest works is in the Monumentale, The Dream of 1900, adorning the grave of Erminia Caitari Vogt. The face of a beautiful woman and floral forms emerge from a cascade of near liquid, rippling stone. Bistolfi would be the most influential Italian sculptor until the rise of Fascism, when the Bistolfian style was seen as decadent, too soft and Romantic for the Supermen.

Image
The Dream

A truly bizarre representation of Fascist art adorns the Umberto Fabe grave with its sculpture by Enrico Pancera, commemorating the dead airman in 1941. Its hero is about to start a large propeller, escaping to the heavens from the clutching Earthbound tentacles of the giant Medusa head. The head is clearly a copy of the Gorgon painted by Caravaggio on the shield now in the Uffizi.

Image

Image

Image

Pancera’s work is a late example of the Art Deco style, and Monumentale is rich in other examples of this Jazz age look.

Image
Sommaruga Faina grave, by Giannino Castiglioni. 1935

Image

Image
Tullo Morgagni tomb, by Guido Micheletti and Enzo Bifoli. 1930

Image
Pogliani grave, by Tarcisio Pogliani, 1928

Like Staglieno the Monumentale is full of poignant monuments to children such as the one in the Jewish section for Luisa Estella Jung who died age 4 in 1886, sculpted by Luigi Vimercati. Although a Jewish memorial, it is carved entirely in Catholic style, reflecting the integration, ambition and confidence of the city's successful and wealthy Jewish occupants at this time. The toy bear is a real, recent offering by the way, and not a Teddy in stone.

Image

Image
Amelia Clerici Bagozzi, died 2 years old, 1904
Image
Ofelia Donini, died 8 years old, 1909

Not all the images of children however are memorials to real people, rather they act as metaphors or symbols, such as the riot of putti on Faith, Brotherly Love and Mutual Aid by Ernesto Bazzaro, on Ermeneglio Castiglioni’s 1897 grave, or the mini riot of instrument playing bambini who adorn the 1904 grave of Ulisse Merini, by Serafino Bianchi. In life Merini was a philanthropic benefactor of infant education.

Image
Castiglioni tomb

Image

Image
Merini tomb

In a space filled with wonders, three of the most memorable are all by one man, Giannino Castiglioni. Hell, Purgatory and Paradise is a writhing frieze of Michelangelo inspired forms adorning Andrea Bernocchi tomb, built in 1933.

Image

Image

His unique, larger than life sized Last Supper group of 1935 is assembled above the mausoleum of Davide Campari, who made his fortune from that fabulous aperitif which bears his name.

Image

The tragically flawed version by Leonardo Da Vinci can of course be seen (booked in advance only for 15 minutes) a few Metro stops away in Santa Maria Delle Grazie.

Image

When I first arrived the work was redecorated by some students for some illicit art project which had been cleared when I returned to the spot a few hours later.

Image
With additions

His third great tomb takes its inspiration from greater antiquity. The Via Crucis of 1936, crowning Antonio Bernocchi’s last resting place spirals upward in a narrative form borrowed from the great pagan column of Trajan in Roma.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Monumentale’s strangest mausoleum however must be The Vital Breath of Nature, an ominous giantess looming over Work, by Enrico Butti, on the mausoleum of Gaetano Besenzancia. The figures of Work struggling with the oxen and plough date from 1907 and are staunchly Realist in manner corresponding to a new wave of Social Realism in Lombardy.

Image

However the enigmatic figure of The Breath of Life is a later, 1912 addition and owes more to Symbolism. It is currently undergoing restoration and is sadly covered in hideous scaffolding, a shame as this was one piece I was most looking forward to seeing.

Image

Like Staglieno the place’s size ultimately defeated me and I missed a fair few of the works I had hoped to see, so with the prospect of the Besenzancia tomb restored and unveiled a return trip in the future will be a must, life’s little accidents allowing. Torino next though I think.

Image
Last edited by Toby Dammit on Thu May 03, 2012 12:24 am, edited 6 times in total.
travel, films and stuff https://freakydog.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Toby Dammit
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 477
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Laaaandan

Re: Staglieno

Postby rabmania » Wed May 02, 2012 9:11 pm

Toby, thank you for this. Fabulous!
rabmania
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Staglieno

Postby banjo » Wed May 02, 2012 9:58 pm

thank you from me too.brilliant post.
banjo
Third Stripe
Third Stripe
 
Posts: 3243
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:26 pm

Re: Staglieno

Postby dingdong » Thu May 03, 2012 11:22 am

Just found this posting quite the best post I have seen on any forum.Are there any pics of the Turin one?I been to Turin a few times to see the football at the old stadium not made it to the new one yet. :D
dingdong
First Stripe
First Stripe
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:40 pm

Next

Return to Around the World

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest