MEDIEVAL SCULPTOR, French
(active c. 1260-1270)
Detail of the tomb of Louis de Francec. 1260
Abbey Church, Saint-Denis
The detail shows mourners on the base of the tomb of Louis de France, originally in the abbey church of Royaumont.
The field of sculpture which expanded in the mid thirteenth century was that commanded by the private patron and concerned with his immediate interests - sculpture connected with family palaces and family chapels and mausolea. Of all these, the most substantial remains are on the tombs, although even these have come down to us in a sadly fragmentary condition. Louis IX had a strong sense of family history, and the remains exist of a long series of monuments commissioned by him to mark the reinterment of the Carolingian and Capetian houses of the distant and not-so-distant past.
Many of the monuments preserve only the tomb-chests, like in the case of the tomb of Louis de France who died in 1260. The side of these tomb-chests were decorated with small figures set in arcades and generally representing relatives, called "weeper-figures". Another motif was the funeral procession of the deceased, like in this detail.