There is a sad look on the face of the angel guarding the tomb of the Oneto family, in the cemetery of Staglieno, in Genoa. The beautiful creature seems to be looking for something ahead, lost in thought, arms folded in front of his heart – a gesture kinesics interprets as a defense against one’s worries.
The statue was sculpted in 1882 by Giulio Monteverde (1837-1917), born in Piedmont, and art critics agree it marks a shift in the way the figure of the angel was conceived in 19th-century art: instead of the Christian image of an otherworldly guide for souls arriving in Paradise, it represents an individual with his own doubts and uncertainties. Lost, this angel doesn’t know where to go anymore, and has stopped to think – at the door of the tomb of Genoese banker Francesco Oneto – in a limbo between life and death.
Thus the beautiful androgynous creature by Monteverdi lies in wait, perhaps of a guide that can show him the way.