Les mises au tombeau III
We have already seen (ND March 2012, March 2013) how French cathedrals found it easy to provide a sophisticated (and expensive) piece of sculpture in the form of a mise au tombeau, another example being found in one of the side chapels of Rodez cathedral (1, Aveyron). Some parish churches had the resources that could provide a work on this scale, like the town of Louviers (2, Eure), while the remote church of Salers (3, Cantal) must have had a rich benefactor. Aigueperse (4, Puy de Dôme) solved the problem by producing it on a small scale, small enough to be attached to a pier, with a composition more like an expanded Pietà.
The composition of the figures repays study. As usual, the Virgin’s gaze is fixed upon the face of her lifeless Son. She is supported by two people; at Louviers and Salers, one of them – again as usual - is the disciple John. He is the sole supporter at Aigueperse. At Rodez, Louviers and Salers, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus appear at the head and feet of Jesus, gently lowering him into the tomb, whilst at Aigueperse they are in the background, sheet ready for the burial.
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