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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Tomb of Philippe Pot

Tomb of Philippe Pot

Tomb of Philippe Pot

The Tomb of Philippe Pot is a funerary monument commissioned by Philippe Pot, for his burial at the chapel of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Cîteaux Abbey, south of Dijon, France. Philippe Pot (1428–93) was a royal steward and Grand Seneschal to the Dukes of Burgundy, and he was raised at the Burgundian court, where he was educated. His tomb follows the tradition of the earliest ducal monuments of Burgundy.

Philippe Pot’s figure lies on a limestone slab, and he is dressed in a knightly helmet and armour with a gilded breastplate. His head rests on a cushion, his eyes are open, and his hands are clasped in prayer. A sword lies to his side while a lion rests at his feet. The tomb has eight life-sized weepers who are anonymous sculpted figures representing mourners. The mourners are carved in black stone and dressed in full-length black-hooded habits. Each bows their head in grief, and each bears an individually designed gilded heraldic shield, which refers to Philippe’s lineage. Their poise gives the impression of the slow movement of a funeral procession.

The weepers are shown as solemn and hooded pallbearers, each wearing a heavy black coat as they carry Philippe’s recumbent effigy towards his grave. The sculptor transformed the conventional size and placement of mourners, which had previously been relatively small figures standing in niches around the sarcophagus.

The tomb was stolen during the French Revolution, and after changing hands several times, it found its way to the private gardens of a mansion in Dijon in the 1800s. Since 1899, it has been in the collection of the Musée du Louvre, where it is on permanent display.

Antoine Le Moiturier

The names of the many artists and artisans who created this work are uncertain; however, Antoine Le Moiturier is often suggested as having produced the eight near life-sized mourners.

Antoine Le Moiturier (1425–1495) was a French sculptor born in Avignon into a family of sculptors. Le Moiturier’s works include:

  • A group of sculptures of Pleurants known as the Mourners of Dijon
  • The architectural frieze on the tombs of Duke John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria
  • Last Judgement for St Pierre, Avignon. Today, only two sculptures remain of the more than sixteen that were initially in the sculpture.
  • Le Moiturier is also believed to have made the pleurants on the tomb of Philippe Pot.

Philippe Pot

Philippe Pot (1428–1493) was a Burgundian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat. He was a Knight of the Golden Fleece and the Grand Seneschal of Burgundy.

Born in 1428 he was the grandson of a Crusader, knight of the Golden Fleece, and the chamberlain of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. Educated at the ducal court in Dijon, and knighted before the battle of Ruppelmonde, Philippe was praised by chroniclers and became the chief advisor of the dukes of Burgundy and was deeply involved in all their diplomacy.

Philippe was sent by Philip the Good as an ambassador to London in 1440, where he procured the release of Charles of Orléans, a prisoner since 1415 and the cousin of Charles VII of France.

Reflections

  • Stolen during the French Revolution, and now in the Louvre?

Tomb of Philippe Pot

  • Title:                Tomb of Philippe Pot
  • Date:               1494
  • Material:         Polychromed limestone, paint, gold and lead
  • Find site:         Chapel of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Cîteaux Abbey,
  • Dimensions:    W: 181 × H: 260 × D: 167 cm
  • Museums:       Louvre

Explore the Louvre

~~~

“Perhaps the mourners learn to look to the blue sky by day,
and to the stars by night,
and to think that the dead are there,
and not in graves.  “

– Charles Dickens

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) Néfermaât [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]

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