The Art of the Cemetery: Sphere

In the most fundamental sense, a sphere is a three-dimensional circle.  The shape of a sphere is round and it does not have any faces.  Every point on the surface of this geometric object is equidistant from its center.

The sphere is a universal symbol of totality.  Looking at the spacial aspect, everything encircled and enframed within this perfectly round solid figure belongs to one thing.  On the temporal aspect, within a sphere, one leaves, goes somewhere, and always comes back.  The sphere in this way represents complete totality in both time and space.

In tombstone iconography, the sphere similarly suggests the totality of one’s life.  Again, the sphere depicts totality in both time and space with death and eternity signifying physical and temporal completeness.   Often found on Christian graves, the sphere, which has no beginning or end, may also symbolize a soul waiting for resurrection.  Traditionally, a grave marker topped with a sphere or ball represents eternity and the unending “circle” of life.

Woodlawn is an open-air art gallery and living history museum that attracts 100,000 visitors annually. Our memorials represent the largest and finest collection of funerary art in the country. Visit our cemetery and explore 400 acres of art, architecture, and history.

Woodlawn continues to be a non-sectarian cemetery without a specific religious affiliation.