The city of Bern has once again awarded its biennial prize for exemplary gravestones in terms of craftsmanship and artistry

The Gravestone Commission on one of its tours.

The aim of the campaign is to “promote individually designed gravestones as an important part of the mourning process“

Every two years, the Gravestone Commission of the City of Bern honors exemplary gravestones in terms of craftsmanship and artistry. In November 2023, awards were presented for a total of eleven gravestones at cemeteries in the Swiss capital that were set up in 2022 and 2023. We show ten of them. The relatives receive a voucher for floral decorations worth one hundred Swiss francs and a certificate as symbolic recognition. The work of the sculptors is honored with a certificate.

The Gravestone Commission is one of the permanent commissions of the Bern Municipal Council. Chaired by the head of the City Green Department, the commission ensures the design quality of the cemeteries. With this award, the city aims to promote the art of gravestone design and cemetery culture. It was first awarded in 1957.

“Individually designed gravestones are an important part of the mourning process and characterize the local cemeteries,“ reads the city’s press release. “Relatives should therefore be encouraged to seek a dialog with a sculptor and jointly develop a gravestone that expresses the uniqueness of the deceased.“

Bern

Photos: SGB/Hitzblech

Schosshalden Cemetery: At the top of a white Lasa-Bianco marble stele is a small village with closely packed houses; a light burns on the 3rd floor of one house. Design: Kurzweg sculpture studio, 3063 Ittigen.Schosshalden Cemetery: At the top of a white Lasa-Bianco marble stele is a small village with closely packed houses; a light burns on the 3rd floor of one house. Design: Kurzweg sculpture studio, 3063 Ittigen.

Bümpliz cemetery: family grave; the olive tree (Liesberg limestone) refers to the place of residence of the deceased in Olivenweg street; despite the crack in the trunk, the tree continued to grow symbolically. Design: Kurzweg sculpture studio, 3063 Ittigen.Bümpliz cemetery: family grave; the olive tree (Liesberg limestone) refers to the place of residence of the deceased in Olivenweg street; despite the crack in the trunk, the tree continued to grow symbolically. Design: Kurzweg sculpture studio, 3063 Ittigen.

Schosshalden Cemetery: Tomb of a woman: all-round sculpture of a man and woman (Gurten sandstone); close collaboration between the bereaved and the sculptor Volger Kurz, Oevres d'Art, 3014 Bern.Schosshalden Cemetery: Tomb of a woman: all-round sculpture of a man and woman (Gurten sandstone); close collaboration between the bereaved and the sculptor Volger Kurz, Oevres d’Art, 3014 Bern.

Bremgarten cemetery: The flat geometric structures (design: Roman Greub, 3032 Hinterkappelen) in the Anröchter dolomite radiate tranquillity and are complemented by the information about the deceased on the front.Bremgarten cemetery: The flat geometric structures (design: Roman Greub, 3032 Hinterkappelen) in the Anröchter dolomite radiate tranquillity and are complemented by the information about the deceased on the front.

Bremgarten cemetery: The cockerel served as a logo on the deceased's antique store. The sign is set slightly in front of the Gurten sandstone stele and extends beyond it on two sides, reminiscent of a bird high in the air. Design: Richard Wyss, 3033 Wohlen.Bremgarten cemetery: The cockerel served as a logo on the deceased’s antique store. The sign is set slightly in front of the Gurten sandstone stele and extends beyond it on two sides, reminiscent of a bird high in the air. Design: Richard Wyss, 3033 Wohlen.

Bremgarten Cemetery: Transition from heavy, solidified matter (Comblanchien limestone) to a light-looking aerial drawing made of finger-thick round iron; the aerial drawing depicts two people bent from a single piece of wire; it is an endless line that almost dissolves against the background. Design: Lucia Strub, 2503 Biel.Bremgarten Cemetery: Transition from heavy, solidified matter (Comblanchien limestone) to a light-looking aerial drawing made of finger-thick round iron; the aerial drawing depicts two people bent from a single piece of wire; it is an endless line that almost dissolves against the background. Design: Lucia Strub, 2503 Biel.

Schosshalden Cemetery: On the back of Markus Raetz’s grave, an undulating line is engraved in the Estavay shell limestone: it is a “Chribe“ (hand-drawn line) reminiscent of Markus Raetz’s spiral wire figures, which become faces when viewed from certain angles. Design: Jeker Natursteine AG, 3006 Bern.Schosshalden Cemetery: On the back of Markus Raetz’s grave, an undulating line is engraved in the Estavay shell limestone: it is a “Chribe“ (hand-drawn line) reminiscent of Markus Raetz’s spiral wire figures, which become faces when viewed from certain angles. Design: Jeker Natursteine AG, 3006 Bern.

Schosshalden Cemetery: A cat, sculpted by the son of the deceased, sits on the Comblachien limestone stele. The animal is keeping the wake, as cats sometimes do. Design: Kurzweg, sculptor's studio, 3006 Bern.Schosshalden Cemetery: A cat, sculpted by the son of the deceased, sits on the Comblachien limestone stele. The animal is keeping the wake, as cats sometimes do. Design: Kurzweg, sculptor’s studio, 3006 Bern.

Schosshalden cemetery: Christian cross combined with the symbolism of the Letian sun wheel; it appears light although forged with a heavy hammer, reminiscent of Celtic iron crosses in Irish cemeteries. Design: Roland Fornaro, 4952 Eriswil.Schosshalden cemetery: Christian cross combined with the symbolism of the Letian sun wheel; it appears light although forged with a heavy hammer, reminiscent of Celtic iron crosses in Irish cemeteries. Design: Roland Fornaro, 4952 Eriswil.

Bremgarten cemetery: Bronze with bas-relief by the sculptor Max Fueter (1898-1983) set in Bolliger sandstone. Design: Bildhauerei Schneider, 3008 Bern.Bremgarten cemetery: Bronze with bas-relief by the sculptor Max Fueter (1898-1983) set in Bolliger sandstone. Design: Bildhauerei Schneider, 3008 Bern.
 

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(17.01.2024, USA: 01.17.2024)