Museum of Fine Arts in Arras

Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Arras Fine Arts Museum

After the recumbent and transi figures of the Louvre Museum, here are some funeral pieces from the Museum of Fine Arts in Arras, in the North of France. There is a rather impressive transi of Guillaume Lefranchois, a doctor during the first half of the 15th century.

The transis appeared in the 14th century, a particularly difficult period when war, famine, epidemics of plague and cholera followed one another. These are a representation of the phrase Memento mori, a reminder of our mortality. The transis punctually replaced the recumbent figures to adorn the tombs in certain regions, in particular eastern France and western Germany. 264 transis are currently listed in Europe, dating from the 14th to the 17th century, which is very few compared to the number of recumbent figures.

Guillaume Lefranchois’ transi is from 1446, the choice of black stone from Tournai adds a dramatic side in addition to the pose of the deceased. In the phylactery that comes out of his mouth we can read : « J’ay espérance de mon salut en la seule miséricorde de Dieu », a reminder to Christians that life on earth is only a step.

Another transi is visible in this museum, more exactly a fragment of a transi, dating from the 15th century.

There is also this funerary monument from the 16th century which was used to decorate a tomb.

A recumbent figure of a couple also in Tournai black stone.

And finally some details of the triptych placed as an ex-voto near the tomb of Nicaise Ladam, dating from the 16th century. An allegory of death in the style of a Memento mori and a decapitated martyr.

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