The Lady and the Uni­corn

Time Out (Sydney) - - ART -

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)

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