Daniel Chester French was commissioned in 1889 to create a funeral memorial for the Milmore Family, to be located in Forest Hill Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. The will of Martin Milmore's older brother, Joseph, called for creation of the monument, which was to commemorate the life of his older brother, Martin Milmore. As Martin Milmore had been a sculptor himself, French decided to depict the artist at work, with the Angel of Death interrupting his work. Martin Milmore was 39 years old when he died.
The Milmore Memorial was completed in 1893 and installed at Forest Hills Cemetery in a setting by Henry Bacon. This design was significantly modified and in 1945, the monument was resetby Andres, Jones, Boscoe and Whitmore.
In 1915, French began plans for a version of the Milmore Memorial in marble. In 1917, French was asked by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for a copy of the Milmore Memorial which was completed in 1926. In 2009, the Museum's copy of the Milmore Memorial, which had been located on the second floor balcony overlooking the American Wing courtyard, was moved to the first floor of the newly renovated American Wing.
Of this extraordinary sculpture, which shows the Angel of Death in a way which is quite different than its medieval or renaissance imagery, French wrote:
My message, if I had any to give, was to protest gainst the usual representation of Death as the horrible gruesome presence that it has been represented to be ever since the Christian era. It has always seemed to me that this was in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ which represented the next world as a vast improvement over this one.All photos below were taken by Douglas Yeo in October, 2001 apart from the photo showing three of French's works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's American Wing which was taken by Douglas Yeo in October, 2009.
|A front view of Daniel Chester French's "The Angel of Death and the Sculptor." Click HERE to download a higher resolution image of this photo.|
|A closer view of the sculptor and the hands of the angel and the sculptor.|
|A further closeup of the hands of the angel and the sculptor, showing the realistic flow of the fingers and the moment at which the angel calls the sculptor from this life.|
|A closeup view of the Angel of Death, with benevolent countenance and massive hood.|
|A view from the left side of "The Angel of Death and the Sculptor."|
|A view from the right side of "The Angel of Death and the Sculptor."|
|A view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's American Wing (2009), showing three marble sculptures by Daniel Chester French: "Memory" (far left), "Mourning Victory" (left), and "The Angel of Death and the Sculptor" (right).|
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