Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of the Friends of Mount Auburn The Art of Memory: Monuments Through Time - Page 6

the Art of Memory museum in the garden
Before the Boston Museum of Fine Arts opened its doors in 1876 , visitors came to Mount Auburn Cemetery to see the art of the sculptor . Although there were private collections in Boston and new sculpture galleries available to members of the Boston Athenaeum , Mount Auburn provided an opportunity for the public to view sculpture in an outdoor environment . The Cemetery includes important examples of fine art by the first generation of American sculptors . Their commemorative works , together with monuments created by local stone carvers , form an extraordinary collection of funerary art , and stimulated the development of a growing monument industry . Mount Auburn was transformed by mid-century into a “ museum without walls ,” and was often referred to as a sculptured garden .
Thomas Handasyd Perkins , ( 1764 – 1854 ), Lot 108 Central Avenue
Photo , Jennifer Johnston , 2013
Horatio Greenough , considered America ’ s first professional sculptor , carved the marble dog that watches faithfully over the Perkins family tomb on Central Avenue . Placed at Mount Auburn in 1844 , the monument commemorates Thomas Handasyd Perkins , “ Merchant Prince ” of the China trade . Perkins commissioned Greenough to carve his Newfoundland dog in 1843 after he visited the artist in his studio in Italy ; later , the sculpture was moved to Perkins ’ grave at Mount Auburn . Art historian Marjorie Cohn notes that the 19th-century fashion for canine symbolism in funerary art capitalized “ upon the traditional canine iconography of fidelity , which went all the way back to guard dogs carved in ancient times .” 6
Amos Binney , ( 1803 – 1847 ), Lots 1390 and 1391 Heath Path
Designated a National Treasure by the White House Millennium Committee to Save America ’ s Treasures and the National Trust for Historic Preservation , the Binney monument is considered one of the outstanding works of commemorative art in this country . Carved in Rome , the sculpture is the only realized work of funerary art by renowned artist Thomas Crawford . Mary Ann Binney commissioned the marble monument in 1847 in memory of her husband , Amos Binney ( 1803 – 1847 ), a founder and president of the Boston Society of Natural History , philanthropist , and art collector . Binney died in Rome , leaving his bereft wife to arrange for his return for burial at Mount Auburn . An observer of the time noted , “ Crawford beautifully tells the mournful story . On one side is the ascending spirit , rising from the tomb … on the opposite site is a female figure , completely shrouded , bearing an urn containing the sacred ashes .” 7
Daguerreotype , Southworth & Hawes , 1852
4 | Sweet Auburn
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