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07 May 2010 @ 04:24 pm
I had never heard of these statues before, but: ooh. (Look at that image. Isn't it unsettling and wonderful?)

From the blog post itself, a description:

"The mourners are part of the ducal tomb sculpture of Jean sans Peur, the second Valois Duke of Burgundy (the full list: Philippe le Hardi, Jean sans Peur, Philippe le Bon and Charles le Temeraire – so that’s Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good and Charles the Bold – or more precisely, the Rash). Created by Jean de Marville, Claus Sluter and their workshops as part of the characteristic style of sculpture in the ducal court in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, both the tomb sculpture of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless include the pleurants. Described by the Director Emeritus of the Metropolitan, Philippe de Montebello: 'The mourners of the Dukes of Burgundy, no matter how admirably conceived sculpturally and sensitively carved, were not intended to provide aesthetic pleasure but rather to mourn indefinitely. Their posture and their faces in the shadows of their cowls are designed to convey the pathos of those who were to symbolize an enduring sense of loss at the death of the grand dukes. On the other hand, it is the quality of the execution and the artistry of the figures that ensure that these are successful in their role as mourners in unending wake, a wake that has not sunk into the maw of forgotten history precisely because of that quality.' (from The Mourners: Tomb Sculpture from the Court of Burgundy)"

And there's something about this phrase--"The mourners of the Dukes of Burgundy, no matter how admirably conceived sculpturally and sensitively carved, were not intended to provide aesthetic pleasure but rather to mourn indefinitely"--that makes me oddly sad. The poor things.

(The rest of the post is interesting as well, if only because I can't imagine ever being the sort of teacher whose comments would guide a student or remain in years to come--for any other purpose than laughter and mockery, that is.)
cschells: heart of stonecschells on May 7th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've seen those before, I think! They give me such a horrible sense of claustrophobia (ack! trapped inside a stone hood for eternity!), but they are beautiful.
tempestsarekind: TARDIS plus angelstempestsarekind on May 7th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)
(Er, this is my only icon with statues in.)

Yes, exactly! I can't help thinking of that statue as aware and human, somehow--which I don't always do with statues. I think it's the fact that the hood is pulled over the face, which makes me start imagining the action, and then imagining not being able to undo it... *shudder* But it's lovely, too.
cschellscschells on May 7th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
If I ever get around to printing up my dissertation with illustrations, I should stick that image in with the bit about monk's hoods being their only "private space."
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on May 8th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
Oh, that's an interesting concept! I never thought of that, but I suppose if you're a monk, you have to conceive of privacy quite differently--that is, differently from other medieval people, who, I'm sure, didn't conceive of privacy the way we do, either.
cschellscschells on May 13th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
Because I'm, you know, a nine-year-old at heart, the one thing I took away from that particular area of research was that monks pulled their hoods over their faces in the communal latrines so that they could use them "privately" or at least in some sort of pseudo-state of anonymity. So glad I live in these times! And am not a monk!
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on May 13th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Yikes! So am I. (Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a nine-year-old at heart!)
La Reine Noire: Bridge of Sighslareinenoire on May 7th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, pleurants! I took a seminar on medieval tomb scuplture when I was in undergrad and I remember finding them both gorgeous and quite troubling.

Also, Burgundian sculpture! ♥♥♥♥
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on May 7th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
This is the first I've heard of them. (Also, why did I not get to take a seminar on medieval tomb sculpture as an undergrad? Pout.) But I love them, in a worrying sort of way. Which, ah, may involve wanting to write about them in a way not yet determined.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 8th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
I've seen drawings, and I've had years of art history, but never these before. Very modern and powerful images.
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on May 8th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
I definitely need to look into them a bit more!
clean all the things!!!: fairy talethepresidentrix on May 9th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
It would make for an intriguing fantasy character, would it not? A character whose caste was 'perpetual mourner'? Like, maybe great houses hire or acquire slaves to mourn their ancestors indefinitely, and children born to those slaves or indentured servants are also expected to take up the same role...

Or maybe if you were a child born to a servant-mourner at near the same time as a child born to the Great House, you would be assigned to the noble offspring, trained, and grow up in the expectation of an adulthood spent perpetually mourning that noble offspring's demise...
tempestsarekind: ofelia readingtempestsarekind on May 9th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
oooh, shiny! I would totally love to read that.