The Unicorn Tapestries

This fall we traveled to New York City and Maine. We visited The Cloisters, where the highlight is the Unicorn Tapestries, woven in the Netherlands around 1500.

Per wikipedia, “In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horselike or goatlike animal with a long horn and cloven hooves (sometimes a goat’s beard). In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin.”

Hunters pursue the unicorn, which is caught with the help of a maiden.

The Mystic Capture of the Unicorn
The Mystic Capture of the Unicorn
The Unicorn is Attacked
The Unicorn is Attacked
The Unicorn Defends Itself
The Unicorn Defends Itself

In the upper left corner, the unicorn is stabbed. At the bottom the unicorn is brought back to the castle on a horse.

The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle
The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle

Miraculously, the unicorn lives again and is chained to a tree.

The Unicorn in Captivity
The Unicorn in Captivity

The tapestries are displayed in a dimly lit room. I boosted the ISO to 6400 and set the exposure at my comfort limit for hand-held photos — 1/60 second and f 5.6. I cropped and increased the exposure up to 2/3 EV to bring out the vivid colors of the tapestries.

We were captivated with a recording of the 40-voice choir of England’s Salisbury Cathedral. Each singer was recorded and is played from its own speaker. You can sit in the middle to enjoy the choir or wander from speaker to speaker to hear the individual singers.

Listening to 40 part motet
Listening to 40 part motet

As the name indicates, The Cloisters is built around a beautiful cloister, a “rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side”.

cloister
cloister

A circular polarizer brings out the blue in the sky.

tower from the cloister
tower from the cloister

The Cloisters is located at the north end of Manhattan, on a hill overlooking the Hudson River.

Hudson River from The Cloisters
Hudson River from The Cloisters

On our first visit to The Cloisters, we spent more time than planned, soaking up the art, music, architecture, and views.

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Published by

charley280

I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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