A museum of the sculpture
Friedrich Nietzsche, Guy de Maupassant, Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh, the Russian painter Ilja Repin, the Empress of Austria Elisabeth (the famous Sisi) and the Emperor of Brazil are only a few examples of the many historical personalities, literary men, travellers, artists and philosophers who have left something as a proof of their visits of Staglieno cemetery. They have wandered among the large monumental galleries and along the avenues of the hill which constitutes the cemetery’s background.
Each of them has remembered the impression and the appeal of this place of public and private memories, in which the monumental will is indissolubly linked to the “romantic” suggestion of the landscape and the monuments, the architectures, the historical memories and the nature are tied very tightly to each other.
The development of this cemetery, which has arisen in the mid-19th century, has progressed until after the First World War, according to the stories, the ideals, the idea of life of a rising class, as was happening to the Bourgeoisie between the 19th and the 20th centuries, since its maximum growth up to the identity crisis which marked its history during the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century.
All the artistic languages of more than a century have succeeded: the Neoclassicism, the Realism (in one of the most typical and detailed forms known in Europe) up to the Symbolism, the Art Nouveau, the Art Deco, etc., creating so a school of artists, such as Santo Varni, Giulio Monteverde, Augusto Rivalta, Lorenzo Orengo, Federico Fabiani, Domenico Carli, Pietro Costa, Edoardo De Albertis, Eugenio Baroni, whose works have been spread even outside Liguria and Italy. But at the same time, it has been an appeal for many famous Italian artists, e.g. Leonardo Bistolfi (who has left some very important works in the cemetery of Staglieno like the tombs Bauer and Orsini), Ettore Ximenes, Pietro Canonica, Edoardo Rubino, Francesco Messina.
With the passing of time the cemetery of Staglieno has become one of the most important and organic evidence of the western culture during the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, also because the Ligurian bourgeoisie and aristocracy of that time, thanks to their worldwide economic and entrepreneurial links, are the classes who represent in the best way the tastes and the behaviours of the main classes of that time.
Nowawdays the cemetery of Staglieno is a real museum of the imagination and of all the processes of memorization of the culture of this society which – thanks to its consciousness of its modernity and to its deep trust in a progressive future – is capable of proposing some very important models, both concerning the architectural structures and the sculpted images, which have been successful not only in Genoa and in Liguria, but also in Europe and in America.