The renovation of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon provides an opportunity for the unprecedented loan of the alabaster mourner figures from the tomb of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife, Margaret of Bavaria. Each of the statuettes is approximately sixteen inches high. They were carved by Jean de La Huerta and Antoine Le Moiturier between 1443–1456 for the ducal tomb originally in the church of Champmol, and they follow the precedent of the mourner figures carved by Claus Sluter and colleagues for the tomb of Duke Philip the Bold (1342–1404). The tombs are celebrated as among the most sumptuous and innovative of the late Middle Ages. The primary innovation was the space given to the figures of the grieving mourners on the base of the tomb, who seem to pass through the real arcades of a cloister.
The installation at the Metropolitan is supplemented by related works from the Museum's collection, including the monumental Enthroned Virgin from the convent at Poligny (established by John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria) that was carved by Claus de Werve.
The exhibition was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Musée des Beaux Arts de Dijon, under the auspices of FRAME (French Regional and American Museum Exchange).
The exhibition is supported by a leadership gift from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Florence Gould Foundation, the Eugene McDermott Foundation, Connie Goodyear Baron, and Boucheron. Major corporate support is provided by Bank of the West – Member BNP Paribas Group.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.