If you follow my posts then you know I have a thing for cemetery photography. I went a little dark in my shots of Père Lachaise, but Isola di San Michele — Venice’s Isle of the Dead — created a much “lighter” experience.
Walking through the cemetery of Isola di San Michele felt like walking on the pages of a book, strolling between the long sentences of great literature and amidst the staves of the world’s great music. Some of those buried here include: Igor Stravinsky, Joseph Brodsky, Sergei Diaghilev, Ezra Pound and Luigi Nono.
To have the opportunity to tread lightly and photograph this historic cemetery was a wonderful experience. Space is very limited in this Island plot of the dead, and while the celebrity deceased may remain, others can only reside here temporarily. After ten years, their remains are exhumed and stored in an ossuary.
The sharpest element I noticed was the division between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the cemetery. The Catholic section, while much larger than the Protestant (or Other) area, was also much well tended and filled with flowers. People obviously cared for these graves and carried on a relationship with their dead. The Protestant side was somewhat decrepit, with grave stones tilting and decaying, tombs broken and weeds and roots choking the resting places.
Is this division a demonstration of the attitudes towards life after death between the two Christian sects?
Photographs from the Isle of the Dead
Approaching the Isle of the Dead by boat from Venice.
A small worn plaque embedded in a wall crypt. The saddest sculptured eyes I’ve seen.
Detail at the Cappella Emiliana chapel
Children stone angels in play.
The well tended Catholic section of the cemetery.
A Lady in Repose
Offerings on Sergei Diaghilev‘s grave.
The name we went looking for. Ezra Pound, the Poet.
The music in the spheres. Igor Stravinsky‘s grave right next to the grave of his wife, Vera.
A section of the wall.
A view from the beyond.
The very strange story of Princesse Trovbetzkoy.
A final thought….
All photos © 2010, Chrisholtphotos.com All Rights Reserved.
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