Egyptian style tomb with multiple figures approaching doorway

Again with the Cemeteries!

a tomb surrounded by trees in Budapest
Kerepesi Cemetery, Budapest

In a previous posting, I detailed the figurative work completed in cemeteries. I enjoy the solitude and the amazing range of sculptural styles. Working here allows complete immersion into the composition with little interference.

Basic graveyards have little appeal. The best locations exist in older cities where cemeteries offer audacious expressions of wealth after death. Huge glorious tombs with intricate carvings and architectural detail beyond belief scatter about these places. In fact, their hidden beauty creates a treasure hunt of discovery.

large marble monument with multiple figures and steps to the top, a tomb for Kossuth
Kossuth Tomb, Budapest
carved tent-like tomb with figures and horses pulling at the corners
Tomb of Antall, Budapest
circular tomb with columns
Circular mausoleum, Paris

My favorites are in Europe. Finding an early necropolis in these big cities always yields terrific examples. Many times these places are also forgotten. So old, with many families long gone, they become overgrown. This adds another layer of visual intrigue to an already classical image.

I can easily envision the nude interacting with these tombs. In spite of negative perception, I feel these locations grant a human-scaled environment that would be difficult to replicate. And there’s much symbolism that enriches the final composition.

miniature Greek temple tomb also overgrown
Classical tomb, Vienna
close-up of overgrown tomb with iron gate and ivy
Central Cemetery, Vienna
close-up detail again of ivy covered tomb with pillars
Fluted columns, Vienna

These places seem to call for life. Sometimes I see the figure in close interaction with the tomb. Other times I can visualize the nude as part of the full landscape. It is a logical transition from stoney carved flesh to the warmth of the living body that makes these images compelling.

Seeing the unexpected or constructing visual dichotomies creates a potent visual message. It makes for a lasting memory beyond the graves.

muddy road going under ornate stone bridge in cemetery
Warriston Cemetery. Edinburgh
ornate ceiling detail with mythological characters in mausoleum
Ceiling mural, Budapest
view of multiple crypts tightly constructed
Pere Lachaise, Paris


Skip to content