Description These mourning figures of the Virgin and St. John originally stood beside a crucified Christ. Although their bodies physically rest against each other, their faces turn in opposite directions, as if to indicate the isolation of grief. While the simple, yet elegant volumes point to an origin in northern France, the remarkable eloquence of the emotional expression suggests the influence of the Netherlander Claus Sluter, active in the duchy of Burgundy (which included parts of present-day Belgium and France). Body language is generally more restrained in stone sculpture than in wood sculpture. But, in the hands of a great artist, emotional expression can be conveyed by stone even more powerfully than by the more expansive gestures possible with wood. Both The Virgin and St. John, and the Mourner (Walters 27.339) were part of larger sculpture ensembles, yet an astonishing mastery of pathos permeates the individual pieces.
- The International Style: The Arts in Europe Around 1400. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1962.
- Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000.
Provenance Henri Daguerre, Paris, by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1924, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1924
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