Angel of Grief of William Wetmore Story
The Angel of Grief is a funerary sculpture by the sculptor William Wetmore Story. It was made in 1894 and served as a tomb for himself and his wife Emelyn Story, in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy.
This beautiful marble sculpture shows a kneeling angel crying at the grave, as if directly weep for the death of the artist and his wife. Emelyn Story died in 1894, and this sculpture was for her. In this artwork he put all the pain and grief for it he felt. It was his last work. William Story died in 1895.
This sculptor for me would be among the transition between Neoclassicism and Romanticism, though this sculpture is clearly romantic as it emanates all the feelings and emotions that the sculptor felt at that moment, the angel expresses as its name suggests, all the grief for the death of his wife.
William Wetmore Story was the most important American sculptor. After 1857, he became the leader of the American colony that was created in Rome, being a reference to all the newcomers. Despite his stay in Italy, the group was held in his country, and his artistic achievements received continuous coverage by the press until the neoclassical current is dissipated in the United States since the 1870s.
The Romanticism breaks with the neoclassical style and appears the figure of a new individual who seeks balance between reason and sentiment. It goes roughly from the mid-XVIII century to the mid-XIX century. Faced with the image of an orderly nature dominated by the neoclassical man, Romanticism offers a new vision where man feels tiny to the immeasurable nature. The Germans called this movement as the Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress).
Romantic sculptor was so dedicated to the human figure as the neoclassical, although they did not just work with marble. The romantic sculpture is distinguished of the neoclassical by the characters expressing violent emotions, and a style characterized by intense and exaggerated movement, often executed with a sketch technique.
In conclusion, the Angel of Grief is a masterpiece of romantic sculpture. Transmits so much feeling that the only contemplation of it causes emotion.
It is so famous that there are many copies. The original is in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy, but there are copies distributed in Canada, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, United Kingdom and the United States, where there are not only copies, but also variations.