Monday, June 8, 2009
What is the Rubicon? And what does it have to do with funerary art? Two questions you very well may be asking yourselves right now!
The monument to the right is entitled the Rubicon, carved by local Raleigh artist Paris Alexander. What is the Rubicon? It is a river in Northern Italy- but it is synonymous for "the point of no return." When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC he broke the law which banned the crossing of the river with an Army, and there by made war inevitable. See how the Rubicon is a perfect symbol for death? Once you cross the "river of death" there's no turning back!
This monument, found at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh is striking, to say the least. Commissioned by Sam Tarlton, it was created and placed before his death. It is eye catching and if you've ever been on my tour you know that I try walking right on by it...to see if anyone stops me to ask what it is!
Who was this unique man that commissioned such a beautiful piece of art? Sam Tarlton was a well known antiques dealer who was beloved in his community. For 14 years he headed up the North Carolina Historic Sites Division and was an antique dealer for over 40 years. According to his obituary published in the News and Observer after his March 12, 2009 death, "He had such a presence -- a twinkle, a good story, a great deal of charm -- as well as extraordinary knowledge," said David Lindquist, a Chapel Hill antiques dealer and long-time associate of Tarlton. "He was always willing to share it."
So on this Tombstone Tuesday, let's raise a glass to Sam Tarlton and other creative Americans who show their personality in life and in death! Cheers!