Matriarca Rivelato

April 1st, 2012 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Bless or blame Google Translate and I hope the heading is not wacky. I had a little thrill this morning to see the matriarch revealed.

For many years, I have seen the grand dame’s statue in shade. This morning the light was finally right and the trees were not at all in leaf. The life-sized representation of Maddalena Caporale, died in 1939 at age 66, was in its glory.

This columned work is in Roslindale’s St. Michael Cemetery. That is across the street from JP’s Forest Hills. As FH is WASPy dignified and largely eschews personal images, at least from the 20th Century on, SM revels in them. As FH is a garden with grand sculpture and splendid runs of grass and plantings, SM is a necropolis. Sure, it has borders of mausolea, where caskets are stacked four high and lovingly furnished with frequently visited internal altars, but SM is in the European mold — close packed graves and many, many busts of the grieved young, the esteemed old, and of course the Catholic ideals of St. Christopher, Jesus, and Mary everywhere.

Yet, Signorina Caporale sits alone. She is imposing.

Assuming the unlisted sculptor worked from a formal portrait, we can’t learn much of her personality from the work. Nor is there an epitaph or mini-bio as so many monuments have. She appears neither grinning or scowling.

We can infer she was worth a lot of trouble and expense. With the light finally on her face, I am left to wonder whether she was feared, loved, or respected.


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