All the Duke's Mourners

The exhibition The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy opened at the Dallas Museum of Art this past Saturday, October 2.  Forty small, exquisitely carved alabaster figures fill a deep blue gallery where we have the opportunity to look closely, examining every detail in their hands, faces, and drapery.  The figures represent a traditional funeral procession in the Middle Ages.  Included among the procession are choir boys, a Bishop, deacons, Carthusian monks, and lay people.  In this case, the figures mourn for John the Fearless, the second Duke of Burgundy, and are part of John’s elaborate tomb.

During the early 15th century, John was a powerful figure in the Burgundy Court, which was established in Dijon, France by John’s father, Philip the Bold.  He profited from his father’s strategic political moves, expanded territory, and wealth.  Both Philip and John worked with many artists and commissioned works to decorate their homes as well as the Charterhouse of Champmol, a monastery that Philip initiated in 1383.  The Dukes were both entombed in the Charterhouse originally.  Eventually the tombs were moved to a main hall in the duke’s former palace, which had become part of the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Dijon.

The Mourners will be on view at the Dallas Museum of Art through January 2, 2011 and a great number of programs and resources accompany the exhibition.  Teaching resources created by the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, the next venue for the exhibition, present more information about the history of the Dukes of Burgundy and the creation of their tombs.  Grab your 3-D glasses and view the mourners in the round with 21st century technology, or see an interactive presentation about John the Fearless’ tomb.  In early November, Dr. Sherry Lindquist will give a lecture on the sculptural innovation of these medieval sculptures.  Students and teachers are invited to celebrate the art of France throughout the Dallas Museum of Art this fall and winter.  View The Mourners, the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, and works of art in the second floor European galleries during your Museum visit and participate in the French Art Teacher Workshop on November 13.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

1 Response to “All the Duke's Mourners”


  1. 1 Christine Miller October 10, 2010 at 11:10 am

    It’s thrilling to be able to have this exhibit visit the museum! Kudos to the DMA staff for arranging these exquisite works to be on view. I plan to visit them often during their stay!


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