I always thought that out of all the art that people choose to express themselves the one that is the most personal is art connected to their death. The 14th century was the opposite of our time even very rich people didn’t have as many pictures of themselves as us. One usually only bought portraits for special occasions like a wedding, birth, a war victory or on your grave. The most personal would probably be the art on your grave/tomb or crypt, because that is when one really starts to reflect on how you want to be remembered by generations to come and it also says a whole lot about a person who they choose to “spend the afterlife with”. Some people choose to share their afterlife with their parents or children while others were buried with their partner or even with several partners they had during their life. Even though Mary had a good marriage with Maximilian I until she died she choose to be buried in the same church as her dad in the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) in Bruges, Belgium.
The interesting thing about the tomb of Mary’s father is that they aren’t sure that it really is her dad lying in the tomb because he originally was buried in a makeshift grave in Nancy but his great grandson has or at least believed he had moved him to this location, but there have always been rumors/fears that the French deliberately gave him the wrong skeleton.
Another interesting thing is that they later put the heart of Mary’s son Philip the Fair in an urn and placed it next to Mary’s tomb.
To us it sounds like 25 years is VERY young to go. So young that one barely have had time to contemplate life and death but in Mary’s time it was something that even young people were very conscious about. One way we know that even youngsters contemplated death is that it was a reoccurring theme in the Book of Hours. A Book of Hours was a Christian devotional book that was popular in the Middle Ages. All Books of Hours were unique because they were handmade, but they had some prayers and text that all Book of Hours had in common one of them was called the Office of the Death which was a prayer cycle that was said for the repose of the soul of a decedent. Nowadays we try to avoid thinking about Death and the Afterlife but in medieval times people were encouraged to think about Death and the Afterlife because they believed that you had to live a good life in order to enter heaven and more importantly avoid punishment in hell for all eternity.
Bonsoir mes amis, Hilde