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And let perpetual light shine on them. The Romanesque resurgence of tomb sc...

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The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square Campus

Penton Rise

London

WC1X 9EW

United Kingdom

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The history of medieval tomb sculpture usually focuses on the Gothic era. It is true that, from the 13th century onwards, there is a multiplication of the number of monuments of a very defined, nearly standardised format (mostly, recumbent statues, tomb slabs and, slightly later, monumental brasses), deeply linked with the contemporary development of the Purgatory. Although rarer and less often studied, the Romanesque tombs are maybe even more interesting. The 11th and 12th centuries were an era of experimentation, where no form was yet set, of transition from the earlier sarcophagus/epitaph pair to something not yet decided, of quick transformations. It is a period that sees the development of many of the forms that will become set in the following centuries. Yet, the purpose of those tombs is very different. In a time before the notion of a locus intermedius is really accepted, the idea that the prayers of the living can save the dead is not prevalent. On the contrary, these tombs often emphasise how the dead can serve as intercessors for the living. The Romanesque tomb is not there for the salvation of the deceased, but to perpetuate their memory and allow them to support the living. There were fewer tombs in the Romanesque era, yet they carried a much stronger message, often emphasised by their position in the church building.

Biography: After an École des Chartes thesis on the tombs of the counts of Champagne and a PhD on Tomb Sculpture in the Iberian peninsula, Xavier Dectot started his career as curator for Sculptures, Ivories and Ceramics at the Musée de Cluny, before becoming the first director of the Louvre-Lens, a branch museum of the Louvre in Northern France. Since 2016, he is Keeper of Art and Design at National Museums Scotland. He has been visiting lecturer in the École du Louvre, the Paris-IV Sorbonne University and the École de Chaillot and is currently Honorary Reader in the School of Art History, University of St Andrews. In 2018, he was appointed Chairman of the Management Board of the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland.

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The Courtauld Institute of Art, Vernon Square Campus

Penton Rise

London

WC1X 9EW

United Kingdom

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