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Photo by John P. Meyer

An array of devotional figures Opening this Sunday at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is an exhibit of carved alabaster figures called The Mourners. The exhibit includes 40 individual figures created by medieval sculptors Jean de la Huerta and Antoine le Moiturier in the period 1443 - 1457. They were commissioned for the tomb of the second duke of Burgundy, known as John the Fearless (13711419). [Oddly, that is also my nickname.] Dijon and Dallas are sister cities. Maybe that's one reason the DMA and the French Regional & American Museum Exchange (FRAME) were able to arrange this first-ever tour of the remarkably evocative carvings included in this exhibit (see photo gallery, below). On hand for the dedication ceremony were Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert; Dr. Francois-André Allaert, Deputy Mayor of Dijon; Bonnie Pitman, Eugene McDermott director of the DMA; Heather MacDonald, exhibition curator; Sophie Jugie, Director of Le Musée des Beaux-Arts (Dijon); and John Eagle, president of the DMA Board of Trustees. Photo by John P. Meyer

The sculptures are roughly 16" tall and are carved from milky-white alabaster. A large delegation from France was also present among the crowd otherwise composed of assorted press representatives — more than usually show up for this sort of event, I'm guessing because of the deluxe French cuisine provided during the reception following the exhibit preview. Given the lighting conditions in the exhibit hall, I've chosen to present most of the photos of the statuary in black & white, which allows the best textural representation of the elegantly carved forms. (As seen in the color images, the figures are all carved from a milky-white alabaster.) The Mourners runs through January 2 at the DMA (it's a "no extra charge" feature, included in your general admission to the museum) ; it has already appeared at the Met in NYC and the Saint Louis Art Museum. Future stopovers on the exhibit tour include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Before returning to their home in Dijon, the devotional figures will make a final appearance at the Musée National du Moyen Age in Paris.


Photo by John P. Meyer Photo by John P. Meyer