Some years ago, I visited Champmol in Dijon, the grounds of the old monastery of Chartreuse de Champmol, today a psychiatric hospital. I made the journey just for visiting the sculptures of Claus Sluter. After some rather heavy traffic, I drove onto the site. At my surprise, there was a small parking for visitors under beautiful trees. Walking across the site, I met only a few friendly patients and nurses. It was a hot day, but thanks to the trees, it was very pleasant.
Of course, I went straight to the Well of Moses, in a backyard with some scattered construction material. I could walk around the sculpture group as many times as I wanted to. Nobody disturbed me. It is always nice to be alone with a work of art. It is as if you are alone with the artist. It is exciting to stand in front of a sculpture and realizing that ages ago an artist has touched it with his hands.
The second sculpture group was in the chapel. After a short walk under beautiful trees, I went into the portal of the chapel. It was there in the portal that the beautiful statue of Maria struck me. I have seen many beautiful medieval sculptures. Mostly, they were more static and serious. This time however, I saw a very lively Maria. She was moving, turning and smiling, with the child on her arm. It was as if I was seeing my grandmother, my mother, and many other women, washing, cleaning and caring for their child. There was something human between the mother and her child. Maria seemed almost real. I loved it. Never before I saw such a lovely statue of Maria, of any woman. It was worth the trip. Go see it when you are in the neighborhood. Claus Sluter has made a beautiful image in favor of women.