Angels in the Shadows – Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland – April 8, 2024


“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2

In addition to gravestones, when we think about cemeteries we often picture angels. Visit your local cemetery, and many of these heavenly messengers are likely to be seen around the landscape. Some angels are standing guard over a grave, others are draped over a tombstone in recumbent grief, and some seem poised to take flight into the heavens. Tears stream from the eyes of a few angels, while others gaze with adoration or display a pensive smile. Sculpted in granite and marble, or cast in bronze, these celestial figures breathe life into the cemetery landscape.

“I saw the angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free.”


John Hay Monument, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio

Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, one of America’s most beautiful and historically significant cemeteries, has many angel statues. A fine example is seen in the photograph above, which shows the helmeted Archangel Michael, resting his sword on a stele, standing guard over the grave of John Milton Hay (1838 – 1905), who was a private secretary and assistant to President Abraham Lincoln and later served as United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

The Angel of Death Victorious (Haserot Angel), Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland

The most famous angel at Lake View Cemetery is undoubtedly the Angel of Death Victorious, shown above, seated on the monument to the Haserot family. This striking bronze statue was sculpted in 1924 by Herman Matzen (1861 – 1938), who taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art for 40 years. The eerie patina and striking black tears streaming from the eyes of the angel are a result of oxidation of the bronze material used to cast the statue. The angel’s hands rest on a torch, which symbolizes the extinguishing of life.

On Monday, April 8, at 1:00 pm, join me and Adam Clemens, the Lake View Cemetery Foundation’s Manager of Special Programs, for a 90-minute photo walk to visit and photograph some of the most distinctive and photogenic angels at Lake View Cemetery. During this easy, slow-paced walk, which will begin and end at the Wade Chapel, we’ll share historical information on Lake View Cemetery as well as tips for taking fine photographs of the angels and other distinctive burial structures that fill the landscape at Lake View Cemetery. Bring your iPhone or Android smartphone, or your digital camera and favorite lenses. 

The observant reader will note that this photo walk is scheduled just prior to the total solar eclipse that is scheduled to occur in Cleveland at 3:15 pm on Monday, April 8. During our Lake View Cemetery photo walk, the sky will begin to darken around 2:00 pm as the moon starts to cover the edge of the sun. The sun will be completely covered by the moon at 3:15 pm for about 4 minutes, then the sky will start to lighten and the sun will regain its full brightness at 4:30 pm.

The lighting effect of the solar eclipse on the Lake View Cemetery landscape will depend on whether the afternoon sky is clear, partly cloudy, or completely clouded over during the eclipse. A clear sky will produce the most dramatic lighting changes, with decreasing brightness and contrast from 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm followed by increasing brightness and contrast from 3:15 pm to 4:30 pm. Please note that our purpose during this photo walk is to photograph the angels and other features of the Lake View Cemetery landscape, and NOT the solar eclipse itself, although you are welcome to take photographs of the solar eclipse itself after the photo walk concludes at 2:30 pm – you will need to use protective solar eclipse glasses over your eyes as well as a solar filter to cover the lens of your smartphone or digital camera!! 

Additional information and registration for this photo walk, which will be limited to 20 participants, is available on the Lake View Cemetery website.





Close Menu