The Angel of Death and the Sculptor from the Milmore Memorial

Artist: Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)

Date: 1889–93, carved 1921–26

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 93 1/2 x 100 1/2 x 32 1/2 in. (237.5 x 255.3 x 82.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of a group of Museum trustees, 1926

Accession Number: 26.120


The Milmore Memorial was a funerary commission from the family of the Boston sculptor Martin Milmore (1844–1883) to honor his memory and that of his brother, Joseph (1841–1886). The original bronze was erected in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, in 1893; this marble version was commissioned by the Metropolitan. The memorial represents the moment when the Angel of Death interrupts the sculptor’s work, staying the chisel in his left hand. She also holds a bunch of poppies, symbolizing eternal sleep. The poetic content of the sculpture, as well as French’s successful integration of real and ideal elements, makes the memorial a profound statement on the creation of art and the cessation of life.