The tomb at Bourges of Jean, duc de Berry (1340-1416), was begun by Jean de Cambrai and completed by Étienne Bobillet and Paul de Mosselman. For the duke's tomb, his life-size portrait-effigy was placed on top of a sarcophagus, with figures of mourners rendered in high relief along its sides. The idea of surrounding the tomb with such figures most likely derived from an early-thirteenth-century custom of attaching tokens of sorrowful remembrance of the deceased to his sarcophagus. Here the figures may represent specific members of the duke's family. The faces of the mourners are hidden by deep hoods, and their bodies are engulfed by the voluminous cloaks so typical of Burgundian sculpture. The duke's tomb was vandalized during the French Revolution, and the mourner figures were destroyed or dispersed. Of the original forty statuettes, only twenty-five survive, including this impressive example.
One of two mourner figures in the collection. See also 17.190.389.
From the tomb of Jean, duc de Berry (1340-1416), choir of Sainte-Chapelle, Bourges, France (until 1757); vicomte de Fussy ; Georges Hoentschel (French); J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (until 1917)
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Cleveland Museum of Art. "Art from the Court of Burgundy 1364–1419," October 24, 2004–January 9, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy," March 1, 2010–May 23, 2010.
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de Chancel-Bardelot Béatrice, and Clémence Raynaud, ed. Une Fondation Disparue de Jean de France, duc de Berry: La Sainte-Chapelle de Bourges. Bourges: Musée de Berry, 2004. no. 44–22, p. 203.
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Cleveland Museum of Art and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. L'art à la cour de Bourgogne: le mécénat de Philippe le Hardi et de Jean sans Peur (1364-1419), edited by Stephen Fliegel, and Sophie Jugie. Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004. no. 95, pp. 255-256.
Wixom, William D. "Late Medieval Sculpture in the Metropolitan: 1400 to 1530." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 64, no. 4 (Spring 2007). p. 20.
Husband, Timothy B. The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. New York ; New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. p. 14, fig. 9.