Friday, 22 May 2009

I Do Know Somethings About Art, Honest!

After admitting my ignorance of the location of Da Vinci's Last Supper in a recent post I thought I should try and show that I'm not totally uncultured and do know something about art.

So here is a piece of art that I do know something about and that I'm sure most of you will have seen before. If you've ever visited an English Heritage shop then you will have probably seen it on sale on a coaster, or possible a plate, cushion or thimble! Or if you have ever watched any of the Harry Potter films then you should recognise it from the countless shots of the Gryffindor common room. So many of you will have seen it before but do you know what it is and where it currently resides?

The image is actually a tapestry called À Mon Seul Désir, or in English to my only desire, and is one of six tapestries in a set known as La Dame à la licorne, or for those of us who don't know any French, The Lady and the Unicorn. These tapestries are often considered one of the greatest works of art to have emerged from Europe during the Middle Ages and were woven in Flanders of wool and silk from designs drawn in Paris during the late fifteenth century.

All six tapestries are housed at the Musée de Cluny, officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge (National Museum of the Middle Ages in English), in Paris. We weren't allowed to take photos when we visited but someone obviously did as they posted the accompanying photo on Wikipedia. The museum website has a section devoted to describing the tapestries which is worth a read. Having been to the museum and seen the tapestries I can easily state that it is worth a visit if you are ever in Paris. The museum also houses a number of fantastic medieval illustrated manuscripts which I could easily look at for hours on end.

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