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McLean Mausoleum, Bellefontaine Cemetery

I’ve always enjoyed the McLean Mausoleum in Bellefontaine Cemetery. It’s perhaps an understated example of the Egyptian Revival in funerary architecture in local cemeteries, but there are other reasons I like it.

The most obvious being, if you look closely, is that the obelisk towering over the mausoleum sits above thin air, as the window in the doors and on the back side of the building clearly illustrate.

I’m reminded of GianLorenzo Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona in the Campo Marzio neighborhood in central Rome.

The fountain, dating from 1651, is famous for consisting of four piers of travertine stone, sculpted to look like rocky outcroppings paired with four rivers for each of the major continents as understood at the time.

If you look closely, there is a void left, and surmounting the rocky outcropping is an obelisk taken by the Ancient Romans from Egypt, creating an illusion of weightlessness just like at the McLean Mausoleum.

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