The lady and the unicorn
Discover the rarest of French medieval masterpieces ‘Sight’ c1500 (detail)
Discover the rarest of French medieval masterpieces ‘Hearing’ c1500 (detail)
Discover the rarest of French medieval masterpieces ‘Taste’ c1500 (detail)
Discover the rarest of French medieval masterpieces ‘Touch’ c1500 (detail)
Discover the rarest of French medieval masterpieces ‘Smell’ c1500 (detail)
Discover the rarest of French medieval masterpieces ‘My soul desire’ c1500 (detail)
- Slide 1
- Slide 2
- Slide 3
- Slide 4
- Slide 5
- Slide 6
Book timed tickets online to avoid disappointment
Only the third time The lady and the unicorn tapestry series has left France in 500 years, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these magnificent artworks in Sydney.
Revered as a French national treasure The lady and the unicorn tapestry series, often referred to as the ‘Mona Lisa of the Middle Ages’, will be making its exclusive appearance in Sydney at the Art Gallery of NSW through a generous and exceptional loan from the collection of the Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris.
Designed in Paris about 1500, the tapestries are considered to be some of the greatest surviving masterpieces of medieval European art. They depict a lady flanked by a lion and a unicorn, surrounded by an enchanting world of animals, trees and flowers. One of the most intriguing aspects of these six large-scale artworks is the mystery of their origin and meaning. For whom were these masterpieces made? What do they symbolise? What stories do they tell?
Often interpreted as a vivid meditation on earthly pleasures and courtly love, the tapestries showcase the sublime skill of medieval artisans. They can also be viewed as an allegory of the five senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell – as well as a sixth sense – heart or will – represented by the phrase ‘mon seul désir’ or ‘my sole desire’.
An engaging program of events and activities, including film, digital and tactile experiences for all ages, will help unravel this centuries-old mystery and illuminate the beauty and intricacy of these enigmatic masterpieces.
This exhibition is made possible with the support of the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Note: This display includes works that are protected under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. More information
Images: Details of Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch, Smell and My sole desire from the series The lady and the unicorn c1500. Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris. Photo © RMN-GP / Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge, Paris / M Urtado
10 Feb – 24 Jun 2018
Due to popular demand, tickets are now dated and timed. You need to specify a date and time when booking.
$44 family (2 adults + up to 3 children)
$8 child (5-17 years)
Free for children under 5
$2 transaction fee applies online
$29/$26/$23 multi-visit pass
$5 student (booked school groups)
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Upper Asian gallery