Monday, June 28, 2010

Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris

Recently unveiled Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay in De Young Museum excited me and brought back many happy memories of my trips to Paris.

One of the highlights of my last visit there in 2008 was Musée de Cluny, officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge. I have often been indifferent to artifacts and did not bother to find out what this museum was all about. Since my hotel practically is next door to this museum, I decided to utilize my downtime between museum hopping to investigate it, intrigued somehow by its look of a medieval ruin in front and well-kept fortress/castle in the side street.

It turned out to be a gem. I saw many beautiful things - furniture, stain-glass, sculpture, etc. None would exceed the beauty of its center pieces - tapestries: La Dame à la licorne.

On my first visit, some rooms were closed and since it was free, I felt more justified to return and see those rooms. Twice, I spent long time in the Unicorn room and was completed enraptured by the tapestries.

Before we get there, I listed below a few samples of other treasures the museum has:

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8552

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8565

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8555

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8553

Musée National du Moyen Âge _ 8563

According to Wikipedia: The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne) is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders of wool and silk, from designs ("cartoons") drawn in Paris in the late fifteenth century.

Five of the tapestries are commonly interpreted as depicting the five senses - taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words "À mon seul désir", whose meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as representing love or understanding. Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the unicorn on her left and a lion on her right; some include a monkey in the scene.
"La Dame à la licorne: A mon seul désir",900-8ab23a.jpg
"La Dame à la licorne: l'Odorat "

"La Dame à la licorne: l'Ouïe"

"La Dame à la licorne: le Goût"

"La Dame à la Licorne : le Toucher"

"La Dame à la Licorne : la Vue"

Musée National du Moyen Âge: Lady_and_the_Unicorn by Atlant
Photo courtesy of Atlant

It was a true heaven!

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