Bewitching art experts and enthusiasts alike for centuries, the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries hang today in the Cluny Museum in Paris.
In each, an elegant lady and a unicorn stand or sit on an island of grass surrounded by a rich background of animals and flowers. Little is known about them except that they were woven toward the end of the fifteenth century and bear the coat of arms of a wealthy family from Lyons.
Tracy Chevalier takes readers back to the tapestries' creation, giving life to the men who designed and made them, as well as the wives, daughters, and servants who exercised subtle (and not so subtle) influences over their men. Like the many different strands of wool and silk that were woven together into one cloth, the lives and fates of these people entwine in complex patterns, crisscrossing as they seek desires sensual and spiritual, temporal and eternal.
An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.
Nicolas des Innocents
The messenger said I was to come at once. That's how Jean Le Viste ishe expects everyone to do what he says immediately.
And I did. I followed the messenger, stopping just briefly to clean my brushes. Commissions from Jean Le Viste can mean food on the table for weeks. Only the King says no to Jean Le Viste, and I am certainly no king.
On the other hand, how many times have I rushed across the Seine to the rue du Four, only to come back again with no commission? It's not that Jean Le Viste is a fickle manon the contrary, he is as sober and hard as his beloved Louis XI once was. Humorless too. I never jest with him. It's a relief to escape his house to the nearest tavern for a drink and a laugh and a grope to restore my spirits.
He knows what he wants. But sometimes when I come to discuss yet another coat of arms to decorate the chimney, or to paint on his wife's carriage door, or to work into a bit of stained glass for ...
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