Friday, July 27, 2007

UNICORN CRAZY


It may seem strange, but I’ve always had a thing for the Unicorn tapestries. In college, while studying textile design and conservation, I took a medieval art class. It met at NYC's Cloisters each Monday when the museum was closed to the public.

Alone with the seven panels and fragments of the The Hunt For The Unicorn, I was continually amazed by the skill required to weave them and the many levels of interpretations that could be given to them. Over the years, I would return to visit them from time to time. Just to keep in touch.

On each of my three visits to Paris, visiting the Musee d’Cluny, (a medieval cloister built over the ruins of a Roman bath and now a museum) topped my agenda. Here, a set of tapestries known as The Lady And The Unicorn reside. Unlike the set in New York, which depict noblemen hunting, the Parisian wall hangings show a 16th century noblewoman trying to win the love of the unicorn.

On Day 3 of our trip, we headed to The Cluny. As, Ev, Chris and Karen admired the museum’s impressive collections, I quickly inspected the stained glass, Gothic ivory reliquaries, enamels and monumental architecture. I was there for one reason.

As I climbed the stairs and entered the darkened tower room that held the objects of my obsession, I had something special in mind. Photography! To my unadulterated joy, for the first time ever, I would be able to photograph the tapestries.

While flash photos were not permitted, my Nikon D-70 had the capacity to shoot virtually in the dark.

I could take close-ups of the intricate and realistic woven flowers, rabbits and luxurious fabrics – non-flash, of course.

I’d love to say that my snapshots were masterpieces but in truth I was too excited to pay careful attention to metering and all of the particulars required for getting stellar low-light shots.

As usual, the sight of the tapestries made me giddy and seeing them again in person was enough. The photos I did manage to take will suffice until we meet again.

**** BLOG DU JOUR ***
www.cest-chouettehome.com

C’est chouette literally translates as ‘small cabbage’ but it is more commonly used to mean ‘that’s cool’. And, these pillows crafted from rescued vintage needlepoint canvases are as cool as they come!

3 comments:

Sharon@C'est Chouette said...

Thank you for the kindest compliment~ and thank you for featuring my tuffets in the your beautiful magazine! I so look forward to seeing your new work!

Joyce of Cottage Collections said...

I'd like to say I stumbled upon your blog, but truth be told.. I'm not the blog savviest person around. I did hear you mentioned my friend Sharon and her pretty tuffets so I came to check it out and found such an awesome blog! We'll miss you as editor of Romantic Country, but so look forward to your upcoming book.
Best of luck in your new ventures.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Barbara,

Sharon's Tuffets are so beautiful and a she is the sweetest!

The unicorn tapestries are beautiful, such intricate work and great colors! I can see why you would be excited! I think you got great photos...thanks again!
Lidy