“The Mourners at the Legion of Honor” – by Georgia Hesse & John Montgomery

 
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The Mourners photo ©John Montgomery
The Mourners Exhibit at the Legion of Honor photo ©John Montgomery

On Aug. 21, 2011, 37 petit people moved into galleries 1 and 2 of San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. They will occupy the museum until New Year’s Day, 2012, to return in their sorrow to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon, France, within the former palace of the Dukes of Burgundy. This is their first trip away from home in 555 years.
Although only 16 inches tall, these alabaster figures rank among the most moving images ever to be sculpted. They are the Mourners (the Pleurants in French) who follow the funeral procession of the tomb of Jean sans Peur (John the Fearless), second Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Marguerite of Bavaria, as it moves through time. These are not the heroic followers, stoic in stone, with whom we are familiar from traditional memorials. “We cannot help but be struck by the emotion they convey,” says Sophie Jugie, director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, “…weeping, praying, singing, lost in thought, giving vent to their grief, or consoling their neighbor. Mourning, they remind us, is a collective experience, common to all people and all moments in history.”
[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Ed note: Thanks to writer Georgia Hesse and photographer John Montgomery for this recap about The Mourners exhibition at the Legion of Honor, a BATW host. It’s in San Francisco until New Year’s Day, so there’s still time to catch it.)[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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