The Lady and the Unicorn
THE LADY AND the Unicorn tapestries are almost as difficult to spot in the wild as the creature itself. Just installed in Sydney, this is only the third time in 500 years the medieval tapestries have travelled from their home at the Musée de Cluny in Paris.
“I think one of the reasons that they’re considered to be so special is that we actually don’t know that much about them,” the Art Gallery of NSW’s Jackie Dunn says. “We know that they were made at about 1500 on the dot, at the turn of the century. We know they were made by a wealthy lawyerclass family in France. But we don’t know exactly who made them and we don’t know why they were made.” The six tapestries have inspired artists for centuries (you might have even caught sight of them in the Gryffindor common rooms); the widest is four-and-a-half metres long and the tallest stretches three metres high. On a vibrant red background, which has faded only a little in 500 years, a meeting between a young woman and a unicorn unfolds. The first five tapestries represent the five senses, and the final one seems to stand for what Dunn calls “the sense that makes sense of all the other senses” – a governing internal sense that you might call heart or even reason. Cassie Tongue
TheLadyandtheUnicorn at the Art Gallery of NSW 2018
‘Sight’ c1500 (detail)