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Number one with a bullet (to the head)

22 May 2013

Commenting on the suicide of Fascist apologist and right-wing writer Dominique Venner (supposedly as a protest against same-sex marriage) in Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, the rector apparently mis-spoke in saying it was the first suicide in the church in 850 years.  It wasn’t even the first right-wing suicide.


Antoninetta Rivas Mercado, a well known figure in Mexican post-revolutionary intellectual circles (besides her literary salon, she was a founder of independent theatrical troupes and the Mexico City Symphony) was the daughter of architect and sculptor Antonio Rivas Mercado.  She was the model for the Angel that sits atop her father’s Monument to Independence.  An extremely wealthy man, Antonio’s death in 1927 left Antonetta with the money to argely underwrite her lover, Josè Vasconellos during his presidential campaign  in 1928., hich he sought to campaign to move the Revolution to the right.

Having rather spectacularly lost that election, Vascocellos chose to exile himself to Paris, where he would move increasingly towards the fight politically (ending up as the editor of a pro-Nazi newspaper in Mexico city).  Antonetta followed him, where she had neither money, nor influence… nor a lover.  Spurned by Vasconcellos,  she shot herself sitting in a pew in Notre Dame on 11 February 1931.

Rivas had been briefly married to an American citizen, Albert Edward Blair, in 1919, and had a son, whose would marry Katherine Skidmore, who under her married name (Katherine Blair) wrote the fine novelized biography of her tragic mother-in-law, In the Shadow of the Angel (Tuscon, Globe River Images, 2011)



3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary O'Grady permalink
    22 May 2013 7:12 pm

    What a story! Thank you for writing this. I never knew who modeled for the Angel, and obviously had never heard her sad history.

  2. Bebe permalink
    24 May 2013 1:30 am

    Thanks kindly for writing up this story. I’ll try to buy “A la Sombra del Angel” if I can find it in LA somewhere.

  3. Fabricio permalink
    27 April 2015 5:36 pm

    Terrible mistake .
    the model of the Angel of Independence , was Alicia Rivas Mercado … The youngest daughter of the architect Antonio Rivas which was not a sculptor.

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