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Stories from Lychakiv Cemetery. The symbolism of a broken life

Yevhen Huliuk



Дата публікації

Symbolism of tombstones of Lychakiv cemetery.

The figure with a scythe is the most famous but not the only symbol of death. There are many of them in the history of art. Others may not be so common, and they are not easy to read, but they are worthy of attention. Lychakiv Cemetery is a real encyclopedia of symbols of the end of human life, and the works of Lviv masters are unique. Visiting this cemetery convinces us how little we knew before about the symbolism of the end of life and the coming of death.

Поховання на Личаківському цвинтарі


The skull is a no less popular symbol of death than the figure with a scythe. It is common in paintings but also found on tombstones. There is an apocryphal legend that Mount Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, is the tomb of the first man Adam. The motifs combination you can read in such a way that we left Adam and will return to him, and in Christ, we will be saved. At Lychakiv Cemetery, the skull is on the grave of Countess Anastasia Jelovicka. It is at the bottom of the tombstone, and the bones are laid out around it.

The torch goes out

One of the most talented Lviv sculptors was Antony Shimzer. His works adorn the streets of Lviv, many of them at the Lychakiv cemetery. On the grave of Maria-Catherine Chaudoir, Shimzer made a giant tombstone with a graceful figure of the angel of death. He has a wreath of poppy heads on his hand. The poppy symbolizes the transition between life and death. On the other hand, the angel holds a torch, which he extinguishes on the top of the pedestal. At the same time, his face is calm - it radiates neither sympathy nor horror.

The tombstone of Stanisław Zarwanski was made by the company Shimzer. On a high pedestal is the god of sleep Hypnos. He leans over the urn and extinguishes the torch.

Поховання на Личаківському цвинтарі

Death is like a dream, but with sadness and tears

One of the tombstones with the most dynamic composition is the monument on the grave of the Bryers, Trenkle and Weigls - the owners of business transport. We see the winged Hypnos. He is wearing a tops diadem and holding the hand of a grieving woman, whom he leads to the afterlife. They are followed by a guy with a bowed head - the genius of life. He holds a lacrimarum with tears.

Read more:  Stories from Lychakiv Cemetery. People all over the world are talking about them

Могила Юліани Нефатер


Everything flows and changes, and earthly life inevitably ends. There are many symbols that remind us of this and the clepsydra is one of them. It is not surprising to see it in the cemetery. Even a winged clepsydra will not surprise here, because it indicates the transience of life. It was most often depicted on the tombstones of young people. For example, the grave of student Adam Kotsko, who died in a clash while defending the right of Ukrainians to study in their native language.

Goddess of the night

A slightly different artistic interpretation and symbolic death expression on the Juliana Nefater grave. The goddess of the night makes way for a young girl and removes the starry crown of life from her head. The trapped girl is trying to hold the crown with her hand, symbolizing her cut-short life. Next to the female figures, there is a winged genius of death.

Могила Юзефа Торосевича


In Christianity, but not only, but death also is not the end point of the human journey. Therefore, the ancient symbol of the ouroboros, which denotes eternity and a closed cycle, the beginning and the end, often appears on graves. At Lychakiv Cemetery, there is an ouroboros on the tombstone of Karl von Rusetsky, a provincial councillor.

Life has ended...

A cut-down tree, a broken flower, a broken column - the artists who worked at the Lychakiv Cemetery had many ways to say about the end of life. Here it is worth mentioning the sculptor Edmund Jaskulski. He died before reaching the age of Jesus. Jaskulski was deaf and dumb, and at Lychakiv Cemetery there is only one of his works - on the grave of Józef Torosiewicz. Edmund Jaskulski died too early. There is a tombstone with a broken column on his grave.

могила Регіни Марковської або «спляча красуня»

Perhaps the most recognizable burial in Lychakiv Cemetery is the grave of Regina Markowska, better known as the "sleeping beauty". The latter was an actress and singer, and her death is shrouded in mystery. Her grave is a realistic figure of a young woman, depicted on a bed, sleeping. There is a broken rose on the pillow. It is a hint that the woman is not sleeping but dead. The figure of an angel of sorrow used to hang over her head. Now it is lost.

The story about Lychakiv Cemetery should include a mention of the famous artist Arthur Grottger. The story of his life is tragic. So was his death. Grottger's beloved, Wanda Monet, designed his monument herself. It is beautiful and symbolic: a lyre with torn strings and a broken palette are artistic symbols that indicate a prematurely cut short life.

Поховання на Личаківському цвинтарі
Поховання на Личаківському цвинтарі

Read more: Lychakiv Cemetery Museum


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