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Art and the Court of Burgundy

Chart Your Course: Use Google Maps to locate Dijon, France, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which now houses the tomb of John the Fearless. Then locate the United States and the museums that are exhibiting the mourners as they travel outside of France: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Saint Louis, Missouri, Saint Louis Art Museum; Dallas, Texas, Dallas Museum of Art; Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco, California, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor; Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  

Identify Yourself: The dukes of Burgundy used visual symbols to identify themselves and to show their political power. Create your own symbol using the Design a Coat of Arms interactive Web site by the Victoria and Albert Museum.  

Awe-Inspiring Architecture: Explore the architecture of French Gothic cathedrals in CNN's Millennium series video #2-3 France: European Cathedrals in the 12th Century (1100s).  

Monumental Masterpiece: John the Fearless's successor, Philip the Good, commemorated his father by commissioning the completion of John's ornate tomb. How do Americans commemorate important historical figures or leaders? Use the Internet to find examples both similar to and different from the tomb of John the Fearless.  

Art under Siege: During the French Revolution, irreplaceable works of art were destroyed because of their connection to the French monarchy. Art continues to be damaged and lost in times of war. Use the Internet to research art lost during the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and during World War II.  

Memorials and Memory: Explore an ArtsConnectEd Art Collector Set to see memorials created by artists from many different cultures to commemorate leaders, important events, and people who have died. Use this set to make comparisons between memorials and discuss the values they represent. Click here here to access the set. Click here to learn more about the Art Collector feature of ArtsConnectEd.  

Dear Diary: Research the daily life of a person living in the Middle Ages in France. Use the suggested reading list or your school library. Write a diary entry from the point of view of your imaginary character and include detailed descriptions of meals, clothing, occupation, home, etc. Feel free to illustrate your entry with a self-portrait or a picture of the town your character lives in.  

Cross-Cultural Connections: In all cultures, death is depicted in art. Explore this theme in the WNET.ORG online video series Art Through Time: A Global View .  

Get Ready for Your Close-up: Get to know each Dijon mourner sculpture up close and personal through amazing 360-degree three-dimensional photographs at the French Regional & American Museum Exchange Web site The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy .  

Explore More: More resources are available from the French Regional & American Museum Exchange (FRAME) including activity ideas and PDFs. Click here to access additional educational programs for "The Mourners" exhibition funded by the Annenberg Foundation.  

Plan a Visit: "The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy" will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts January 23 through April 17, 2011 in Gallery 340. Admission is free!  

Student's Reading List:

Bordessa, Kris. Great Medieval Projects You Can Build Yourself Chicago: Nomad Press, 2008.

Elliott, Lynne. Clothing in the Middle Ages. The Medieval World. New York: Crabtree Publishing, 2004.

Langley, Andrew. Medieval Life. Rev. ed. Eyewitness Books. New York: DK Publishing, 2004.

Macaulay, David. Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1973.

Olmsted, Jennifer. Art of the Middle Ages. Art in History. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2006.  

Educator's Reading List:

Fliegel, Stephen N., Sophie Jugie, and Virginie Barthélémy. Art from the Court of Burgundy: The Patronage of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, 1364-1419. Dijon: Musée des Beaux-Arts; Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art; Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004.

Jugie, Sophie. The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy. Dallas: FRAME/The French/Regional/American Museum Exchange; Dijon: Musée des Beaux-Arts; in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2010.

Moffitt, John F. "Sluter's Pleurants and Timanthes' Tristitia Velata: Evolution of and Sources for a Humanist Topos of Mourning." Artibus et Historiae, no. 51 (2005): 73-84.

Vaughan, Richard. John the Fearless and the Growth of Burgundian Power. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell Press, 2002. First published 1966 by Longman.  

En française: Click here for a French version of these pages.  

January 2011