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Art and the Court of Burgundy



The Hand of the Artist
Jean de la Huerta and Antoine Le Moiturier<br><i>Mourner number 52</i>, 1443-70<br>Alabaster<br>© Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo François Jay
  Jean de la Huerta and Antoine Le Moiturier
Mourner number 52, 1443-70
Alabaster
© Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo François Jay

 

During Philip the Bold's reign, an art style known as International Gothic was favored in Burgundy and throughout much of Europe. Its flat, linear forms were elegant, delicate, and decorative. Philip's marriage to Margaret, countess of Flanders, extended his power into Flemish territories and also brought important changes to Burgundian art. The solidity and realism that characterized Flemish art were combined in Burgundy with International Gothic.

Art was produced in workshops headed by a master artist. To head the ducal art workshop, Philip chose the Netherlandish artist Claus Sluter. Sluter's realistic style became the hallmark of art made in Dijon, the capital of Burgundy. Careful detail, everyday themes, naturalism, and ornate decoration typify the "Dijon style." Figures are clothed in voluminous drapery that communicates emotion, as in the mourner statues. Sluter drafted plans for Philip the Bold's tomb but died after sculpting only a small part of it. His nephew, Claus de Werve, completed the tomb, using Sluter's design.

Philip's son, John the Fearless, desired a tomb like his father's, in the style of Claus Sluter. The sculptor Jean de la Huerta worked on the tomb for years but then suddenly left town. Antoine Le Moiturier took over and finished the statues. John's tomb was finally installed in 1470, over fifty years after his death! Although many of the sculptures on John the Fearless's tomb are copies of those on Philip the Bold's tomb, there are slight differences, due to the hand of the artist.


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1. This religious painting shows characteristics of the International Gothic style.
Nardo di Cione, Standing Madonna with Child, 1350-60, tempera on wood, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, bequest of Miss Tessie Jones in memory of Herschel V. Jones
2. Though we can't be certain which artist sculpted each statue, Jean de la Huerta's figures tend to be stout, with dramatically modeled faces and a suggestion of movement in the draping cloth.
Jean de la Huerta, Antoine Le Moiturier, Mourner number 55, 1443-70, alabaster. © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo François Jay
3. Relaxed stance, static drapery, delicate facial features, and solemn expressions usually characterize Antoine Le Moiturier's mourners.
Jean de la Huerta, Antoine Le Moiturier, Mourner number 48, 1443-70, alabaster. © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo François Jay

 

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January 2011