When I was a child, I was afraid of graveyards – and skeletons. They reminded me too much of death. I thought that if I liked something related to death, death would become more meaningful and I did want to negate it.
I avoided graveyards as much as I could, for instance I looked in the other direction each time I had to walk past one, and felt really uncomfortable when I had to enter a cemetary.
However as I grew up, I got more and more inclined towards darker styles, and felt a strange fascination with graveyard scenes in books, then graveyards themselves. I guess trying to embrace such symbols is a way of coping with mortality for me, better than shunning it. It doesn’t work that much, but I have discovered a lot of amazing artworks and places!
When I was a student, my English teacher asked us to make presentations related to the city. I did one on cemeteries.
I began my presentation with a riddle: “There is one in nearly each city. It’s a place full of history, art, architecture, inspiration, nature and crowded with famous people. Guess what I am talking about!”
Nobody guessed. Then I spoke about the London Magnificent Seven, the Tophet in Carthage, Jewish cemeteries, San Michele in Venice, I told them about wildlife and nature in abandoned cemeteries and I shew them some paintings with cemeteries.
More articles to come! The next one: The Graveyard Scene!
(image: Olsany Cemetery, Prague. Praha 31, photograph by Viona Ielegems: http://www.viona-art.com/)