“The Fountain of Faith” is one of two major works created by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles found in the National Memorial Cemetery in Falls Church, Virginia.
This massive, expansive fountain sits in a large courtyard, which contains numerous memorials and consists of 37 figures who are said to evoke specific individuals Milles knew before they died. It was his vision of heaven on earth.
The concept for this complex work of art originated from a request by Robert F. Marlowe, founder of National Memorial Park, for Milles to create a “fountain embodying his personal belief and philosophy of life after death.”
Milles responded to the challenge by creating individual portraits of people he had known in life, including a boy who died trying to rescue a bird, a family of three that perished in a Paris car accident, a wise old man who lived in a grotto in the mountains of France, siblings making celestial connections, and mothers reunited with children. This last depiction was particularly personal for Milles, who lost his own mother at the age of four.
The piece is considered Milles’s masterwork and its dedication in 1952 drew a crowd of some 25,000 people to celebrate the completion of a project that took 12 years.