The Lady and the Unicorn

The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. … In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like 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.

Intrigued by unicorn tapestries in New York and a painting from the Borghese, we visited the Paris Cluny Museum to catch the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries we had missed.

The six Lady and the Unicorn tapestries were woven at the end of the Middle Ages and discovered in the 19th century. It appears that each of the five senses depicted by a tapestry. “The tapestries are created in the style of mille-fleurs“, “a background style of many different small flowers and plants”.    

The meaning of the sixth tapestry is not known. The tent is labeled ‘my only desire’.

my only desire
my only desire

The lighting for the tapestries is very dim. I used an exposure time of 1/30 second, the slowest interval I wanted to hand-hold, and set the drive for multiple shots. This approach worked well, yielding a good photo for each piece.

The Cluny Museum is located in an ancient Roman bath. Shown below, the frigidarium is a cool room where one goes to close their pores after hot and warm rooms.

frigidarium at Musee de Cluny
frigidarium at Musee de Cluny

Published by


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.