Sculptor S. Varni 1864
The monument in memory of Maria Bracelli was commissioned to Varni by her sons, the marquis Antonio Maria, Vincenzo and Francesco Spinola, three members of this old and noble Genoese family, who have paid 30,000 lire for it; a very large sum, considering that the concessions concerning the upper arcades were the most expensive in the cemetery. The monument relates on models which were typical of the late 16th century: the sarcophagus is surmounted by a figure which symbolizes the Faith and is flanked by two geniuses which are two “allegories” of the Eternal Sleep (the one with the small wreath made by poppy seeds, and the circle) and the Hope (the one with the anchor, which looks towards the Faith); the dead lady, who is lamented by her relatives, has been represented only in the frontal part of the coffin. This tomb remains far from the cultural point of view, but also from the temporal one, from the explosion of that artistic style which was prevailing in the cemetery of Staglieno at that time; namely, the bourgeois Realism, which would strike out the allegories in order to show both death and sorrow in a more worldly and daily concreteness.
Santo Varni has been the favorite artist of the Genoese aristocracy, who appreciated not only his relationship with the House of Savoy, but also his capacity to take inspiration from the art of the past and to present these ideas in a more modern way, with excellent attainments from both a technical and an executive point of view.