Daniel Chester French's Memorial Sculptures and His Innovative Conceptions of the Angel of Death
Daniel Chester French created several visually powerful memorial sculptures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that feature his innovative representation of an Angel of Death. French first gained great public acclaim for the figure in the Milmore Memorial (1892), and later in the Melvin Memorial (1908), and the St. Paul's School War Memorial Death and Youth (1929). French had the opportunity to create groundbreaking memorial sculpture because of the popular development of the nineteenth-century rural cemetery movement. French found professional accomplishment with the Angel of Death figure because he drew from Classical, Christian themes, and Contemporary iconographies. This thesis explores the factors that led to French's lasting success by contextualizing the Milmore Memorial for its placement in the rural cemetery, exploring the iconographical sources that helped shape his conceptions, and considering his development of the Angel of Death as a motif for memorial works throughout his career.