ANDRÉ DURAND Twenty-First Century Paintings
Dimensions: 95.5 x 78.7
Oil on linen
Private collection, Tokyo, Japan
Necrologies, or, as they are more frequently called in France, obituaires, are the registers in which religious communities were accustomed to enter the names of the dead — notably their own deceased members, their associates, and their principal benefactors — with a view to the offering of prayers for their souls. The institutions which maintained such necrologies differed almost as much as the form in which the entries were made. There are necrologies connected with cathedral chapters, others (and those the most numerous) belonging to monasteries and religious houses, others to colleges, such as, e.g. the Sorbonne (in Molinier et Longnon, “Obituaires”, I, 737-52) others to collegiate churches, others again to parishes, while, as for the registers themselves, some are drawn up in the form of marginal entries in martyrologies or calendars, others form a book apart, but arranged according to the days of the month, others again are mere disorderly lists of names, which seem to have been written down just as they were sent in, or as occasion arose. Not less diversified are the names by which these registers were known. Perhaps the commonest was martyrologium, because they often took the form of mere additions to the martyrologium, or list of martyrs and saints commemorated on each day. We find also necrologiurn, memoriale mortuorum, or memoriale fratrum, mortuologium, liber obituum, and, more rarely, obituarius, sometimes, owing to its connection with the calendar, calendarium, sometimes, because the monastic rule was commonly bound up in the same book, liber regulae or simply regula, sometimes, from the occasion when it was read aloud, liber capituli (chapter book), sometimes, in reference to the entries of the names of benefactors, liber fundationum, or fiber benefactorum. Also, although Molinier seems to contest this usage (“Les Obituaires francais”, p. 22), such a collection of names, consisting largely of benefactors, was occasionally called liber vitae (book of life).