Saturday, November 2, 2013

47. Musee de Cluny

The Musée national du Moyen Age ( National Museum of the Middle Ages ) - formerly Musée de Cluny  - houses a variety of important medieval artifacts, in particular its tapestry collection, which includes the fifteenth century tapestry cycle La Dame à la Licorne ( The Lady and the Unicorn ).

Front entrance to the Musee - rusty wheelbarrow was not a feature of the museum - council workers were on a coffee break !!

 
This structure - partially constructed on the remains of Gallo-Roman baths dating from the third century - is perhaps the most outstanding example still extant of civic architecture in medieval Paris. It was formerly the town house of the abbots of Cluny, started in 1334, however the residence was taken over in 1485 by Jacques d'Amboise, Bishop of Clermont and Abbot of Jumièges. Occupants of the house over the years have included Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII of England. She was installed here after the death of her husband Louis XII by his successor Francis I of France in 1515; Francis wished to monitor Mary closely, particularly to see if she was pregnant. Seventeenth-century occupants included several papal nuncios.
 


In 1793 the building was confiscated by the state, and for the next three decades served several functions. At one point it was owned by a physician who used the magnificent Flamboyant chapel on the first floor as a dissection room. 
 
In 1833 Alexandre du Sommerard moved here and installed his large collection of medieval and Renaissance objects. Upon his death in 1842 the collection was purchased by the state and the building was opened as a museum in 1843.


 
Beautiful stone and marble works dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries ..

 
The Musée de Cluny houses a variety of important medieval artifacts, in particular its tapestry collection, which includes the fifteenth century tapestry cycle La Dame à la Licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn). Also on display is the horn of a Unicorn … a two metre length of ivory … couldn’t see any joins – so maybe it is for real !!! …The unicorn does however feature in many of the hanging tapestries ...
 
 
One of the many tapestries featuring the Lady and the Unicorn from the 15th Century
 
descending down into the ancient Roman baths


 
... and altar pieces in ivory




corner stone ...


 




Marble sculpture of the Presentation at the Temple - Burgundy, late 14th century










Casket : Apostles and angels, gilded  enamel, Limoges, 2nd quarter of the 13th century




Reliquary of the Virgin and Child, gilded silver, France 1407



 
stained glass from the 13th century

 

Gothic vaults in the chapel



Rear view opening out onto Medieval garden
 
Tomorrow we might visit some famous Parisians ...