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Video transcript

[Music] we're standing on a wooden walkway suspended over water which is actually fairly deep well this is a well after all we are looking at a beautiful monument by Klaus looter called the well of Moses now it got that title fairly recently it was originally known as the great cross but of course the cross is no longer here so let's give this a little bit of context a lot of things are no longer here right this Monument stood in the middle of a cloister surrounded by the cells of Carthusian monks the rooms where they would meditate and this voice tur was in a monastery established by Philip the bold the Duke of Burgundy so we're talking about the late 14th century where in Burgundy in dijon or rather i should say just outside of the old walls of the city and this was a place that the duke had commissioned in order that monks could continuously say prayers over his soul it also was intended by it philip and became his burial place in the burial place of his family it's important to remember that the Constitution's are a closed society that is they dedicate themselves entirely to solitary prayer what better environment to ensure the salvation of your soul for eternity well it's interesting that had Philip the bold the Duke actually seems to have really loved the Carthusians in fact he specified that he would be buried in a Carthusian robe and of course he wanted to be buried here so we're looking at a very well funded monastery the most brilliant artists of Europe are working here including Klaus looter and we're looking up at a hexagonal structure on each side is a prophet standing in front of a niche but interestingly and importantly this is breaking with the medieval tradition of having this figure is completely embedded within the architecture each figure the Prophet is separated by a lovely column with a capital and standing on those cap turtles are angels in positions of grieving and prayer with their wings outstretched and above them we see a base and on that base would have stood a very tall and narrow cross with Christ on it and at the base of that cross the single kneeling figure of Mary Magdalene all of this was painted we could see blue there would have been gold and green so it really would have come alive and the monks would have been inspired in their prayer when they looked at this monument Schlueter is able to give a kind of individual life to each figure the drapery really does give a sense of the movement of the body within it maybe not so much the structures of the body but at least its engagement with the space around it and look up at the figure of King David first of all figure that would have been very important to the Duke of Burgundy David himself a king but he's so specific so individualized there's a depth and sense of wisdom and his personality there's a recent suggestion that that figure next to King David who is the Prophet Jeremiah is also a portrait of Philip the bold and in fact if we look at contemporary portraits of Philip they look awfully similar and Moses is looking out past us above us as a seer but Zachariah looks down and almost offers us his prophecy it also challenges us challenges the monks that would have lived with this sculpture do you see as I see do you understand the importance of the tragedy of the spiritual miracle that transpires above we have these angels all in different positions some with their arms folded on their chest some with their arms raised some clutching their drapery or touching their face so there's a depth of emotion in the figures of the prophets and a real depth of emotion in the Angels all of which I think would have been inspiration to the monks that's important to remember I mean here we are the well the center of life of the monastery the monastery itself was meant to continuously pray for the soul of the Duke so in some ways this sculptural group of what we now call the well of Moses was the engine in the center of the monastery that was meant to power in a sense inspire the prayer of the Monza it is one of the most spectacular late medieval sculptures that certainly I've ever seen [Music]