Sluter, Claus

Sluter, Claus

(klous slü`tər), d. 1406, Flemish sculptor, probably of Dutch extraction, active in Burgundy. Under Philip the Bold of Burgundy he had charge of the sculptural works for the porch of the Chartreuse of Champmol, near Dijon; there stands his pedestal for a Calvary—the Well of Moses—with its strongly individualized figures of Moses, David, and the Prophets, a masterpiece of realism, dignity, and power. Another magnificent work at Dijon is the tomb of Philip the Bold, with a recumbent effigy upon the sarcophagus and 40 small alabaster figures of mourners set in niches in its sides. The tomb was finished by Claus de Werve, nephew and pupil of Sluter and also his assistant on the Well of Moses.
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Sluter, Claus


(also Claes Sluyter). Born circa 1340-50 in Haarlem (?); died January 1406 in Dijon. Burgundian sculptor.

A native of the Netherlands, Sluter settled in Brussels circa 1380 and in Dijon in 1385. In 1389 he became court sculptor to Philip the Bold. He directed the work on the monastery of Champmol on the outskirts of Dijon, being personally responsible for the execution of a series of statues for the portal of the mausoleum of the Dukes of Burgundy (c. 1391–97). Particularly noteworthy are his stone statues of Philip the Bold and his wife Margaret of Flanders. The expressiveness of these statues anticipates Sluter’s later works in stone.

From 1395 to 1406, Sluter worked with his nephew, Claus de Werve, on the composition Golgotha. Its pedestal, known as the Well of the Prophets or Well of Moses, has been preserved. The statues of the prophets, especially the powerful figure of the venerable Moses, are noted for their monumental generalization of form. They are remarkable as bold portrayals of the prophets’ strength and courage. Sluter also worked on the tomb of Philip the Bold, which had been begun in 1384 by Jean de Marville and was completed in 1411 by Werve. The tomb is housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon.

Sluter’s work had a significant influence on the development of Renaissance art in France, the Netherlands, and Germany.


David, H. Claus Sluter. Paris, 1951.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.