I am thoroughly fascinated by this painting, and like so many others, I first saw it in the film I Loved You So Long (2008) and it has haunted me ever since. Since I am often consumed with thoughts of loss and sorrow, I guess it rather makes sense. They are feelings that I consistently feel and fight.
Originally titled La Douleur (translated as pain in the film) it was painted by Emile Friant in 1889, yet the painting is not about the movie and the movie is not about the painting. Of Course, that sounds stereotypically just like a French film, right? Regardless, it was used briefly in the movie to great effect as perfect metaphor for the sadness reflected by a few of the film's characters.
Here, in the city of the dead, the men remove themselves to commiserate in stoic and private grief while the raw, barely restrained emotion of the widows in black is as dark and deep as the grave.