Sculptor S. Varni 1879
The epitaph is engraved in the central part of the smooth basement, upon which stands a large parallelepiped with the deceased’s profile in a tondo. At both sides, two standing women are sculpted, dressed in a robes and Greek cloaks: the one who has a serpent wound up around her wrist, which refers to the evangelical precept “Be as prudent as a serpent”, and a mirror in the other hand, which symbolize the skill of the wise man to look at himself, can be identified with the Prudence. The other woman who holds an olive branch, a symbol of peace, in her right hand and a circle in her left hand, a symbol of the cyclical, never-ending and universal time, can be identified with the Eternal Peace. Up, an angel whose trumpet lies on the ground, represents the resurrection from the dead.
This monument, which was built in 1872 and placed here in 1879, is a good example of the respect for the past and of a moderate openness both to the naturalism and to the romantic intimism, which are typical of Santo Varni’s production. Santo Varni has been not only a sculptor, but also an intellectual, a teacher, a collector, a trader and a successful consultant, so a real protagonist of the 19th century Genoese culture. He has made more than forty tombs in Staglieno; after having been one of Lorenzo Bartolini’s pupils, who has been the second most important Italian sculptor after Antonio Canova, Santo Varni has indirectly given life to the school of the sculptors of the bourgeois Realism.