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The Unicorn Tapestries [Hardcover]

Adolfo Salvatore Cavallo , Adolph S. Cavallo
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 27 2002

The unicorn tapestries are one of the most popular attractions at The Cloisters, the medieval branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Traditionally known as The Hunt of the Unicorn, this set of seven exquisite and enigmatic tapestries was likely completed between 1495 and 1505. The imaginatively conceived scenes—displaying individualized faces of the hunters and naturalistically depicting the flora and fauna of the landscape—are beautifully captured in silk, wool, and metal yarns.

Written by one of the world’s leading authorities on medieval textiles and illustrated with many lovely color reproductions, The Unicorn Tapestries traces the origins of the tapestries as well as possible interpretations of their symbolic meaning. This is an essential book for any lover of medieval art and textiles.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

Book Description

This unicorn tapestries are one of the most popular attractions at The Cloisters, the medieval branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Written by a world authority on medieval textiles, this beautifully illustrated book traces the origins of the seven enigmatic tapestries as well as the possible interpretations of their symbolism and presents details of each imaginatively woven scene.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Adolfo Salvatore Cavallo is an independent scholar who formerly worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Allegorical Creature March 14 2001
By JR31
Format:Hardcover
If you can't see these gorgeous tapestries in person, ***this book is a great way to view them up-close. Each tapestry, circa 1500, is shown in full (in color!) and in detail. All of the brilliant colors are from three dyes: madder (red), woad (blue), and weld (yellow). The hunt of the unicorn theme is possibly an allegory for love, marriage, even the death of Jesus Christ.
These now-famous works of art apparently belonged to François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld, in the late 1600s. They were taken from his chateau and later used by peasants to protect their food from frosts. Fortunately, they were recovered in 1850 and later (1922) purchased by John D. Rockefeller who gave them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I was fortunate enough to see them last October. My fiancé and I made the trek from Times Square, via subway, to Fort Tryon Park, where The Cloisters are peacefully nestled. We crawled from the sub-terrain and entered the lush, fragrant park. It's a bit of a walk up to the museum, but the garden atmosphere astonished us. We couldn't believe we were in NY! The Cloisters were quiet and uncrowded in the morning. There's a center court complete with bubbling fountains and plants from the Medieval era that is open to the sky. We crossed this courtyard and entered into the small room where the tapestries occupy their personal space. I will never forget the experience. They took my breath away.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful May 9 2000
Format:Hardcover
I absolutely love the unicorn tapestries, and I fulfilled a childhood dream when i saw them at the Cluny museum in paris. The colors are vivid and beautiful and do justice to these awesome tapestries.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Oct. 7 2006
By Alyssa A. Lappen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I recall seeing these tapestries for the first time as a teen, when my high school class made a bus trip to the Cloisters Museum--deigned as a medieval castle--in the uppermost park in Manhattan. As I recall, I was on crutches at the time. Through the shallow, spiral stairs tested my coordination, however, the fabulous textiles, rich in color and mythology, completely distracted me from my injury.

I've been back a few times over the years to see these priceless treasures, and each time, they have induced silent awe.

Margaret Freeman's volume provides a great record of the collection, including fine pictorial details, and scholarly (but engrossing) explanations of the tapestry themes and motifs.

This is an art book you'll be happy to have.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet! Hard to find /this/ book anywhere! Jan. 18 2009
By Yoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Well, hard to find the original hardbound version that is! ;) This particular copy is considerably smaller than the original, but the images are just as brilliant and are wonderfully laid out within the pages of this phenominal book. As a lover of myth and legend--as well as fine art--this book suits both my tastes perfectly. The history of the tapestries (that we know of, at least) is richly detaild and it's always interesting to read the background story on any piece of art. If it's so awesome, why did I give it only four stars? My own picky nature, really--I wish it were the same as the original. ;)

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys learning more about some of the finer things in life that have survived the test of time--these tapestries are truly gems!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luminous March 12 2006
By Linda Pagliuco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of the most beautiful, complex works of art that remain with us from the middle ages, the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters Museum in New York City are a priceless treasure. Their monograph on the tapestries is a beautifully produced, meticulously researched, and well-written overview of the techniques used to weave them, the selection of colors, the symbolism of the figures and flowers, and the possible meaning of the entire sequence. To this day, no one knows for certain for whom they were woven and what they truly signify. If you haven't had a chance to see these wondrous tapestries in person, consider putting them on your list of things to do before you die. If you have been fortunate enough to make a visit, this book will certainly increase your understanding and appreciation of this masterpiece. We are fortunate to have them, though they probably truly belong in France or Belgium.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, great gift Aug. 23 2011
By Dr Beck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a perfect gift for friends or family who are fond of the classics. I gave it to one whose favorites are Dante and Chaucer. She loved it. The art, explanations, and histories were perfect.
12 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful May 9 2000
By Britta A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I absolutely love the unicorn tapestries, and I fulfilled a childhood dream when i saw them at the Cluny museum in paris. The colors are vivid and beautiful and do justice to these awesome tapestries.
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