Saturday, May 21, 2011

Denunzio's Double Statues

Off the top of my noggin, I'm hard-pressed to think of another instance where I've seen a grave with two larger-than-life statues, one above the other on a second tier.

This is Joseph Denunzio in Louisville's St. Louis Cemetery; from the dignified pomp of his marker's presentation, you'd be easily led to assume this is the grave of the former mayor of Louisville who shares a similar name - but actually, this Joseph Denunzio was apparently an importer of fruits and vegetables, and they were related. He founded the Denunzio Fruit Company at 108 W. Jefferson Street, which continued to exist at least into the 1940s.

But according to John Kleber's Encyclopedia of Louisville, "his grave monument at Calvary Cemetery shows him in the pose of an auctioneer with produce at his feet." Waitaminute. This is St. Louis Cemetery, not Calvary, and I don't see any produce at his feet, Boss. What gives? Has Kleber made a typo (hey, it happens)? Or could this be our third Joseph Denunzio? This must be the guy, because he does look rather auctioneer-like, and he's clearly leaning against a stack of fruit crates.

The second statue in the stack is the traditional woman-with-anchor Statue of Hope, from the Catholic Virtues (Faith, Hope, Charity) which are in turn derived from 1 Corinthians 13:13:

And now abideth faith, hope, and love, even these three: but the chiefest of these is love.

I'm not sure how "love" and "charity" (caritas) got morphed into it along the way, because the actual original text says ἀγάπη, which is a concept unto itself and loses something in the translation. (ἀγάπη, or Agape, has been defined as "an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being" - in other words, outdoing negativity by throwing more positivity at it.)

Since the traditional Catholic representation of Charity sometimes depicts a woman with children gathering fruit, I would have thought that would have been a more appropriate choice for Louisville's premier fruit purveyor.


Chris said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy all of your blogs. I learn something new every time. When will you be signing your book again?

Anonymous said...

This is my Great-Great-Granfather's grave. Marguerite Leachman, his daughter had this monument made for him. He felt very strongly about things Italian(he even had his wife brought over because American women were too headstrong HaHa) so according to my grandmother in deference to his feelings his daughter had the statue carved in Italy and brought over. She sent his suit, a photo of him and his pocket watch over to the sculptor so he could get the dimensions right. The fruit company was the first business in Louisville to have electric lights. The building burnt to the ground. Thanks for setting the Calgary misprint correct. Everybody knows Catholics weren't allowed to be buried in Calgary so I don't know what that guy was thinking. Ceilidh Creech

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that Charles Scholtz, who worked for the fruit company, named his son for Joseph but they weren't actually related. jami
(Joseph Denunzio took in his brother's child from Sicily (my great-grandfather)