Jean de Liège (Franco–Netherlandish, ca. 13301381)
Île–de–France, Saint–Denis, Abbey Church of Saint–Denis, Chapel of Notre–Dame–la–Blanche
Marble, lead insets, traces of polychromy; Overall (without base): 12 1/4 x 12 3/4 x 6 3/16 in. (31.1 x 32.4 x 15.7 cm); overall (with base): 14 1/16 x 14 5/8 x 6 5/8 in. (35.7 x 37.1 x 16.8 cm); base: 2 1/8 x 14 5/8 x 6 5/8 in. (5.4 x 37.1 x 16.8 cm)
Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941 (41.100.132)
The royal abbey of Saint-Denis was the burial church for the rulers of France and their families. Many of the tombs were vandalized in the wake of the French Revolution. This elegant image once formed a part of the tomb effigy of the princess Marie de France (13271341) and her sister Blanche de France (13281393). Although Marie died in 1341, her effigy was not carved until about forty years later, by the court sculptor Jean de Liège. The appearance of the tomb is known from a drawing made before 1715 (see alternate view). Originally the head rested upon a stone pillow and the princess wore a metal crown. Her braided hair is arranged in the courtly fashion of the time the sculpture was carved.