It’s day 5 of our Culture Tourist Art Blogmas. And I’m sharing an artwork called ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’, one of the most beautiful medieval artworks, with you today.

Art Blogmas 2021

The Lady and the Unicorn is a series of six tapestries created in the 16th century. The designs for them were made in Paris around 1500. The tapestries were created after the drawings in the centre of tapestry production of that time – Flanders.

Read more: A guide for the perfect museum visit

The Lady and the Unicorn

Where is it? Musée de Cluny, Paris

Although created at the beginning of the 16th century, tapestries were lost for centuries. They were found in the mid-19th century in Boussac Castle, located in central France. They were in poor condition. However, some twenty years later, the director of the Cluny Museum in Paris brought them there. They undertook a thorough restoration, during which they were brought to their original glory.

All six tapestries have a pretty similar design. The dominant colours on them are red, blue and golden. On each of them, there is a noble lady in the middle of the scene, with a unicorn and lion on each side. Five of the tapestries represent five senses: sight, taste, hearing, smell and touch. The sixth tapestry has an inscription on it, ‘À mon seul désir’, meaning ‘My only desire’ written on it.

Although the meaning and symbolism of the series are not completely clear, most scholars agree they present a meditation on earthly pleasures and courtly culture, offered through an allegory of the senses.

In the first five tapestries, not only the lady feels different senses, but the animals around her, as well. In ‘Touch’, for example, she holds the horn of a unicorn. But he could feel her hand, too. In the ‘Taste’, not only she’s taking a sweet from a maidservant, but the monkey, as well.

TIP: Have you seen these tapestries at the Harry Potter movies? They are covering the walls of the Gryffindor common room.

Read more: Locations linked to Vincent van Gogh in Paris

If you don’t want to miss other paintings I will share with you in this year’s Art Blogmas, be sure to check in here tomorrow at 7:30 am. Or, follow along on the Culture Tourist Facebook page and Instagram profile.