The Musee des Beaux Arts Dijon occupies the historic Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, parts of which date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Once the seat of power of the Duchy of Burgundy, today the palace houses an impressive art collection that ranges from Egyptian to 20th century artworks. Of all the works on display, the most magnificent may be the tomb of Philip the Bold.
Philip was one of the four sons of the French King, John the Good of the House of Valois. After distinguishing himself on the battlefield of Poitiers, fellow fighters dubbed him Philip the Bold. In 1364, when he was just 22 years old, the King awarded his son the title of Duke of Burgundy. Philip married Margaret of Flanders, the daughter of the Count of Flanders, who ruled Belgium, Holland, and the region of France today known as Franche-Comté. Upon the Count’s death, Margaret became the richest heiress in Europe. With that wealth, Philip the Bold transformed Dijon into one of the major cities in Medieval Europe.
The marble coffin that holds the remains of Philip the Bold is displayed in a major salon of the Musee des Beaux Arts Dijon. Considered an outstanding work of Burgundian sculpture, it features a recumbent effigy of the Duke decorated in polychrome and gilt. The angels who hover on each side of the Duke’s body hold his helmet, while a lion curls up at his feet. Around the base, 41 statuettes carved of alabaster marble form a mourning procession. The effigy was severely damaged during the french Revolution; only the hands are entirely original. The remainder was restored during the first half of the 19th century.
The museum/palace is located at the historic center of the city, on one side of the Place de la Liberation. In addition to housing the Musee des Beaux Arts Dijon, the palace is also home to the Town Hall.
Author’s note: I was a guest of Dijon Tourism during my stay in Dijon, France. However, the receipt and acceptance of complimentary items or services will never influence the content, topics, or posts in this blog. I write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 thoughts on “PHOTO: Tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy in the Musee des Beaux Arts in Dijon, France”
I first found this tomb and the similar one beside it in 2001. I returned to see them again in 2014. The sculpture is truly stunning, not a word I often use. I’d love for you to share a photo of the small statuettes at the base of one of these tombs. But if they, too, are 19th century, please don’t tell me that! I had no idea the tombs had been damaged and redone.
Hi Libbie: Actually, the statuettes around the base on the tomb shown in the photo I featured are the originals. However, I believe I read that the statuettes on the other tomb in the room are replications. Wish I could share that photo, but I’m on to other destinations already!