Seventy years after it was sculpted, the prostrate angel of the Ribaudo family grave – in the Cemetery of Staglieno, in Genoa – was featured on the cover of a famous record, the 1980 single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by British post-punk band Joy Division.
The symbolist monument had been placed under the semi-circular portico of Genoa’s monumental cemetery in 1910; its designer, Onorato Toso, was also behind the pulpit in the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Misericordia in Savona.
The song – whose title is now engraved on the tombstone of Joy Division leader Ian Curtis, who killed himself in 1980 – ends with lyrics that seem spoken by the inconsolable angel:
You cry out in your sleep, / All my failings exposed. / […] And desperation takes hold.