Mourner

Mid-15th century, Bourges

Alabaster

H. 41 cm ; W. 12.8 cm ; D. 11.4 cm

Co.914

Former collections of Mercier, Romagnesi and Émile Molinier. Acquired by Rodin on 3 January 1917 from the antiquarian Bacri in Paris through the antiquarian Charles Mori, from the former Fitzhenry Collection, London?

This figure, clad in mourning clothes, holding a book, was placed in an alabaster recess in the base of the tomb of Jean de France, Duc de Berry (1340-1416) in the Sainte-Chapelle, Bourges. With 26 other mourners in various attitudes, he formed the funeral cortege of the deceased, represented as a gisant on the top of the tomb.

 

In the early 15th century, Duc Jean de Berry had commissioned his sepulture from the sculptor Jean de Cambrai, who carved the recumbent figure and at least five of the mourners before 1438. The Musée Rodin’s mourner was carved by a second team of sculptors, known as the “Flemish” artists, who were active in Bourges circa 1450.

 

Purchased by Rodin in 1917, at the very end of his life, this image of mourning seems to complete his collection. It illustrates his interest in medieval art, which showed through in his research into the rendering of draped bodies or the expression of human distress, for example in the Burghers of Calais group.

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