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Sad Little Statues

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The Valois Dynasty ruled the duchy of Burgundy for more than 100 years, gathering to them vast wealth and new lands, and supporting an artistic culture that demonstrated both keen aesthetics and the family's power. This power and wealth was lavished on the tombs of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless so that even in death they would be magnificent. Forty mourners carved from the finest alabaster kept eternal vigil around the biers, each figure representing the various strata of society. Every exquisite fold of their robes is perfectly draped, their downcast faces individually recognizable, their postures conveying the depths of a universal sorrow — and the tallest of them doesn't top eighteen inches. These magnificent treasures of another age travel from France to America on a nationwide tour, The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, a tour that stops (almost too briefly) from Sunday, June 20, through Sunday, September 5, at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or www.slam.org).The museum is open every day except Monday; Admission to this special exhibition is $4 to $8, but free to all on Friday.
Tuesdays-Sundays; Mon., July 5. Starts: June 20. Continues through Sept. 5, 2010

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