Sunday, February 8, 2009

National Museum of the Middle Ages - Cluny

I loooooove the Cluny. I think the tapestries and other artifacts they have there are really interesting.
I'm not very knowledgeable about any of it, though, so I'll only be prividing my own little version of informative captions. It's like with Sainte-Chappelle... there are so many beautiful and interesting things to look at. It is really a visual feast.
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Detail of a tapestry. It's so gorgeous and detailed, right down to the patterns of the dresses and shading on leaves and flowers. Such skill and patience are beyond me.
Robes of a Catholic priest or bishop.


Golden flowers.


A bejeweled reliquary. I don't know what it was supposed to have held (or currently hold).

The tapestry of the grape harvest. I love that the grapes are white but the wine is red. Can anyone explain this phenomenon?
Crushing the grapes... partially nude. Icky. Someone, please find this guy's pants.

Picking the grapes... and maybe flirting a little.



I think this is supposed to be St. John the Beloved.
The Virgin Mary.

These poor gents have been decapitated.





But have no fear, because their heads are on display just across the room.


A tombstone. I was intrigued by the red design, and I am assuming that it's paint, rather than some kind of miraculously huge (and miraculously flat) slab of stone that is white on the outside and red on the inside.

The highlight of the Cluny...
The Lady and the Unicorn. This is a series of 6 tapestries that are just gorgeous, and unique in many ways, only one of which is that they have all remained together since they were commissioned in the 1400's. Read more about the series here.


The 5 smaller tapestries (though they are each at least 10x15 feet) are thought to represent the 5 physical senses: Taste, Sound, Touch, Smell, Sight The 6th and largest tapestry (pictured just above) has the words A Mon Seul Desire inscribed on the top of the lady's tent. This has been interpreted in many ways, and even the words a mon seul desire have been translated in different ways (To My Only Desire vs. By My Will Alone).


The tapestries were damaged while being stored in a castle, but were discovered by Prosper Merimee (author of the work Carmen which inspired the opera) and his "friend" George Sand (a.k.a. the Baroness Dudevant, who also had a ten year affair with Chopin).

The damages portions were rewoven with whatever parts could be salvaged and newly-died threads. This was done in the mid 1800's, and you can see that the new threads have actually faded much faster than the original pieces. Amazing.





There you have it. The thermal baths at the Cluny are being restored right now, so I couldn't get any pictures of those. And Blogger is freaking out, so the other 4 pictures I was going to post just aren't going to make it. :)

1 comment:

Scrappy said...

Oh my goodness. You have been so busy I can't keep up!
I am glad you are having a good time.