Crossing France you will find road signs advertising highlights of regional heritage. One of them is for a group in Chaource, depicting The Entombment of Christ. The Holy Sepulcher is situated in a crypt in the north of the church.
This group was meant to be experienced as if one was there the moment the dead body of Christ was mourned over by his family and friends. With every step you are not only closer to the scene, you are drawn into it. Once down in the crypt, just before your eyes are used to the semi-darkness you sense the presence of a small group guarding the tomb. Two soldiers are placed so you will notice them in the corner of your eye, drawing your gaze away from The Entombment. Larger than life, the are looking upon you intimidating from the shadows until you notice yet another one behind you, kneeling and gazing at the sad group in front of you.
Maître de Chaource
The groups are attributed to the Maître de Chaource. By making use of light and shadow, life-size and interaction the artist manipulates the viewers gaze. The sad expressions and gestures make sure no one misses its sorrowful subject and the empty side of the tomb is without a doubt an invitation to join the mourners. This manipulation makes us wonder why the patrons of the chapel, Nicolas de Monstier and Jacquelines de Laignes, let their effigies be made by another, lesser qualified, artist. Perpetually kneeling they turn their faces rigidly towards The Entombment. Where their statues even meant to be placed awkwardly against the back wall?