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The Mystery of Life?

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Oct 3rd, 2009
2009
Oct 3

FOREST LAWN SCULPTURE

Ah, Sweet ‘Mystery of Life’

 

Mystery of Life-then

 

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE is the largest piece of statuary in Forest Lawn Memorial Park — measuring over 17 feet in width and containing 22 life size figures. Critics regard this statur, the workd of Ernesto Gazzeri, one fo the world’s greatest sculptural masterpieces. The sculptor has chosen to leave the interpretation to each individual observer.  (from the back of the post card circa 1930s)

 

Mystery of Life

 

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE monument as it looks today. The above description must have been before they installed the reproduction of Michelangelo’s  “David” in the courtyard adjoining this garden.

 

The following is Forest Lawn’s religious interpretation of The Mystery of Life statue taken from a pictorial catalogue the cemetery published in 1944:

 

mysteryoflife-2

 

“Around the mystic Stream of Life we see grouped eighteen persons typifying many walks and stations in life. First we see…”

 

1.  – a boy, who is astonished at the miracle that has happened in his hand — one moment, an unbroken egg; the next moment, a chick, teeming with life. “Why?” he asks. “How does it happen? What is the answer to this Mystery of Life?” He questions…

2.  – his aged grandmother, who, he reasons, knows everything. But we see her resigned in the face of the inexplicable. Then we see…

3 and 4.  – the lovers, who believe they have found the answer to the mystery in their first kiss.

5. – the sweet girl graduate, lost in dreams, with no place as yet in her thoughts for a serious questioning of Life’s destiny.

6.  – the scientist, troubled because all his learnings, all his searchings, have not solved the mystery.

7 and 8.  – the mother, who finds the answer in the babe at her breast.

9, 10, 11, 12, 13.  – the happy family group, not really perturbed by the mystery, although even they seem to ask: “Why do the doves mate?”

14.  the learned philosopher, scratching his puzzled head in vain.

15 and 16.  – the monk and the nun, comforted and secure, confident that they have found the answer in their religion.

17.  – the atheist, the fool, who grinningly cares not at all, while

18.  – the stoic, sits in silent awe and comtemplation of that which he believes he knows but cannot explain or understand.

 

And, to the left of this sculpture is a private garden containing the earthly remains of Mary Pickford (1893-1979), Warner Baxter (1891-1951), Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976), Earl Carrol (1893-1948) and his girlfriend Beryl Wallace (1910-1948) and Joan Crawford’s ‘Mommie Dearest’ — Anna Le Sueur (1884-1958).

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