El unicornio descansa en un jardín

El unicornio descansa en un jardín


La fantástica historia verdadera de los unicornios

Los unicornios son criaturas mágicas que aparecen en casi todas las novelas de fantasía y en varios cuentos de hadas de la historia registrada. Estas historias incluso han aparecido en todo el mundo. Según la leyenda, los unicornios solo pueden ser domesticados por una doncella con un corazón puro. Sus cuernos tenían la capacidad de purificar líquidos y, en algunas leyendas, sus cuernos podían curar heridas. Esta leyenda fue suficiente para inspirar a la gente a cazar a esta criatura esquiva durante siglos. Incluso los miembros de la realeza bien educados compraron lo que creían que eran cuernos de unicornio, y los científicos han tratado la posibilidad de su existencia con mucha seriedad en el pasado. Pero, ¿existió realmente este animal? ¿Fue cazado hasta desaparecer como el pájaro Dodo, o fue realmente un producto de la imaginación de alguien?

De un tapiz llamado "La dama y el unicornio". Crédito: Wikimedia Commons.


Lo que no estamos viendo

Qué apropiado que una muestra de museo dedicada al unicornio —un animal mítico cuyo nombre ha llegado a significar algo tan raro y elusivo que podría o no existir— no se hubiera materializado. “A Blessing of Unicorns” estaba programado para traer los tapices de unicornio del siglo XV del Musée de Cluny en París junto con sus contrapartes en los Claustros del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York, como parte de una celebración en honor a los cien años del Met. y quincuagésimo aniversario. Programado para 2020, el espectáculo fue cancelado debido a la COVID-19-19 pandemia. Una exposición de arte medieval fue víctima de la peste, el más medieval de los peligros.

El boletín de verano de 2020 bellamente ilustrado del Met, Una bendición de unicornios: los tapices de París y los claustros, no solo nos muestra lo que nos perdimos, sino que también puede hacernos repensar nuestra visión de los unicornios, un tema que, para ser honesto, no se me había pasado por la cabeza en años. Solía ​​pensar mucho en los unicornios. De hecho viví con uno, se podría decir: una reproducción de El unicornio descansa en un jardín colgado en el dormitorio de mi infancia. Solía ​​mirar los campos oscuros tan densamente cubiertos de flores increíblemente perfectas, y al unicornio en su pequeño recinto redondo, tan dulce, tan melancólico, tan solitario, tan parecido al espíritu de una niña preadolescente infundida en el cuerpo de un blanco. caballo con un solo cuerno de sacacorchos.

Fue algo sorprendente volver a verlo, mientras revisaba el minicatalogo del Met y leía el lúcido ensayo informativo de Barbara Drake Boehm, la curadora principal de Cloisters. Y mientras leía, vi algo en la imagen que nunca había visto antes. ¿Cómo pude no haberme dado cuenta de que la piel del unicornio está manchada de sangre, que delgados riachuelos de color carmesí corren por la suave carne blanca mientras descansa tan pacientemente en su recinto circular? Algunos eruditos han argumentado que las rayas rojas son jugo de granada, el símbolo de la fertilidad, pero a mí me parece sangre, y parece poco probable que el perro mordisqueando la espalda del unicornio El unicornio se rinde a una doncella gotea néctar de frutos rojos.

¿Qué habría pensado, cuando era niño, si hubiera sabido que esta delicada y elegante criatura era un animal para ser cazado, como uno de los trofeos de safari de especies en peligro de extinción que con tanto orgullo exhiben Don Junior y Eric Trump? ¿Y a qué habría llegado yo si me hubieran dicho que esta matanza no podría llevarse a cabo sin la ayuda voluntaria de una virgen agradable?

Aparentemente, el unicornio no solo era rápido sino fuerte, capaz de matar a un elefante con su cuerno. Los cazadores no pudieron acercarse solos. Por eso necesitabas a la virgen. Al unicornio le gustaba recostar la cabeza en el regazo de una virgen y, mientras estaba distraído, los cazadores se acercaban. La virgen era un cebo. En caso de que las implicaciones se nos escapen y nos perdamos las ramificaciones —la preciosidad de la pureza femenina y la relativa contaminación de la sexualidad femenina— aquí está Richard de Fournival, el canciller de la catedral de Amiens del siglo XIII y autor de El bestiario del amor:

Fui capturado también por el olor ... como el Unicornio que se duerme en el dulce olor de la virginidad ... nadie se atreve a atacarlo o tenderle una emboscada excepto una joven virgen. Porque cuando el unicornio siente a una virgen por su olor, se arrodilla frente a ella y se humilla suavemente para servirle. En consecuencia, los hábiles cazadores que conocen su naturaleza colocan a una doncella en su camino, que se queda dormida en su regazo. Y luego, cuando está dormido, los cazadores, que no tienen el valor de perseguirlo despiertos, salen y lo matan.

Cuando miré la foto, cuando era niña, ¿estaba siendo programada subliminalmente para un futuro en el que tendría que elegir entre el amigo unicornio y una vida sexual? ¿Y si fingiéramos ser vírgenes? El unicornio lo olería. Y si fuéramos vírgenes, ¿qué ganaríamos con entregar la hermosa bestia a sus asesinos? En la escuela secundaria, mis amigos y yo habíamos comenzado a ver la virginidad como una carga de la que estábamos ansiosos por deshacernos, éramos demasiado inocentes para entender cuánto de la niñez, su energía y espíritu, era una pena perder. Y ciertamente era demasiado joven para considerar cómo el culto a la virgen, la fetichización de la virginidad, era algo malo para las mujeres, cargado de castigos impuestos por los hombres, destinados no a la protección de las niñas sino principalmente como garantía sobre el producto que uno compraba, vendía o intercambiaba en matrimonio.

Mucho se ha hablado del unicornio como símbolo de Cristo, una lectura de estas imágenes que una amiga medievalista apoya debido a la predestinación, dice, la intrincada ilógica de la Virgen siendo cómplice del asesinato de su hijo no viene al caso. Las heridas del unicornio son las heridas de Jesús. Boehm está menos convencido y sostiene que la interpretación religiosa simbólica se ha llevado al extremo. Pero ya sea que el unicornio represente (o nos recuerde) a Jesús o no, ya sea que su sangre sea la sangre de Cristo, no hay duda de que los cazadores de los tapices de Cluny (groseros, rapaces, brutales, desagradables) son los timbres muertos de los patán que se burlan Cristo en las pinturas de Bosch y Grunewald.

Aunque no pude evitar lamentar mi inocencia perdida, mi amor preadolescente por los unicornios desflorado, estaba agradecido por los encantadores factoides de unicornios que proporciona Boehm: La mística y compositora del siglo XII Hildegard von Bingen creía que se podía curar la lepra machacando un unicornio. hígado con yema de huevo. Cesare Borgia se disfrazó de unicornio para su boda en 1498. Julio César escribió que los unicornios vivían en los bosques de Alemania, mientras que más tarde los peregrinos alemanes vieron un unicornio en las cercanías del monte Sinaí.

Tejido alrededor de 1500, cada uno de los tapices de Cluny representa uno de los sentidos (gusto, olfato, vista, etc.) y representa una escena relativamente estática (unicornio, dama) sobre un fondo rojo muy punteado con pequeños animales, árboles, pancartas y flores. Es asombroso que estas enormes y muy detalladas obras de arte representativo fueran tejidas, aunque mi asombro se apagó un poco al no verlas en persona.

Los tapices de los Claustros no solo son posteriores (que datan de principios del siglo XVI), sino mucho más dinámicos, realistas y más sangrientos.

Los cazadores entran en el bosque, de la caza de los tapices de unicornio, 1495-1505.

El nombre de la serie, "La caza del unicornio", es un aviso instantáneo: esto no es Mi pequeño Pony. Y, sin embargo, en el primero de la serie, Los cazadores entran en el bosque, las cosas parecen bastante amables. Los perros no parecen tan sedientos de sangre, dos de ellos miran hacia atrás en lugar de hacia adelante. Los hombres usan sombreros divertidos, algunos con grandes plumas, y tal vez esas lanzas son solo accesorios que los hombres del siglo XIII llevaban a pasear por el bosque. Bastones con puntas.

El unicornio se rinde a la doncella, de la caza de los tapices de unicornio, 1495–1505.

Una multitud se ha reunido en El unicornio purifica el agua, y todo es un reino muy pacífico, el unicornio está rodeado por una manada de bestias reales y míticas, inquietantes pero inofensivas. El unicornio se rinde a la doncella presenta solo a dos humanos: la (presunta) virgen y un cazador espiando desde los árboles y tocando su cuerno, señalando a los demás. Pero ahora los perros están alterados. Uno de ellos está acariciando o mordiendo al unicornio, que permanece tranquilo, aunque ahora dos corrientes de sangre le corren por la espalda. La sangre es tan bonita, tan estética, como todo lo demás.

El unicornio se defiende de la caza de los tapices de unicornio, 1495-1505.

No es hasta El unicornio se defiende que se levantan las lanzas. Los perros se han vuelto más malvados, tal vez porque uno de ellos ha sido corneado por el unicornio, cuya sangre ha comenzado a fluir.

Los cazadores regresan al castillo, de la caza de los tapices de unicornio, 1495-1505.

Los cazadores regresan al castillo es una de esas imágenes medievales / renacentistas que funcionan como una película, mostrándonos escenas que podemos seguir, secuencialmente, de un lado a otro de la imagen. En la parte superior izquierda, el unicornio está agonizando, profundamente atravesado por tres lanzas y acosado por los perros. Y en el primer plano inferior, el unicornio muerto, que parece más una cabra sacrificada que una criatura mágica, su cadáver desinflado colgado sobre el lomo de un hermoso caballo marrón, ha sido traído para la aprobación del señor y la dama reales y sus cortesanos.

Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, a menudo, cuando hacía buen tiempo, mis amigos y yo tomábamos el autobús de la Quinta Avenida hasta el final de la línea, Fort Tryon Park. Pasábamos tardes enteras en The Cloisters. Eran nuestras vacaciones en Europa, nuestro viaje en el tiempo asequible. No sé cuánto tiempo pasé frente a los tapices de unicornios, pero sí sé que, durante todas esas horas, nunca se me ocurrió que estaba viendo una carnicería.

Quizás la crueldad y la sangrienta mentalidad de este año han puesto de relieve la matanza. Es desconcertante, incluso vergonzoso, pero siempre (o casi siempre) me gusta que mis ojos se abran a algo que no noté, a pesar de que estaba justo frente a mí todo el tiempo. No es como si nunca se me hubiera ocurrido lo severamente envenenada y deformada que nuestra sociedad ha sido envenenada y deformada por el racismo y la desigualdad de ingresos. Pero los acontecimientos de este verano, las protestas de Black Lives Matter y las horribles estadísticas que revelan cuánto más gravemente han sufrido los pobres y las personas de color a causa de la pandemia han hecho que sea imposible no ver la sangre. Solía ​​decir que nuestra democracia era una institución frágil, que lo que pasó para convertir a otras democracias en dictaduras podría pasar fácilmente aquí. Pero no creo que realmente lo creyera hasta hace poco.

Por sorprendente o dolorosa que pueda ser la verdad, ver lo que no pudimos notar se siente como una educación continua, una lección, incluso un regalo. Como tantas historias que creía conocer, como tantas de las historias que nos contamos y nos contamos, la historia del unicornio no es lo que había pensado. La belleza de estos tapices es emocionante, incluso en reproducción, pero plantean la cuestión de qué tan fácilmente podemos pasar por alto lo obvio, si no miramos de cerca.

Francine Prose es autora de diecinueve novelas, ocho obras de no ficción, tres colecciones de cuentos y un libro para niños. Su novela más reciente es Señor mono.

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La historia secreta de las malas hierbas

¿Qué es una mala hierba? '', Preguntó Ralph Waldo Emerson a la multitud que se había reunido para escucharlo hablar en la iglesia Old South de Boston el 30 de marzo de 1878. Su respuesta: una planta que aún no es útil. Había unas 200.000 malas hierbas, señaló en su conferencia, "Fortuna de la República", y agregó: "El tiempo todavía traerá un inventor a cada planta. No hay una propiedad en la Naturaleza, pero nace una mente para buscarla y encontrarla […] La aplicabilidad infinita de estas cosas en las manos del hombre pensante, cada nueva aplicación equivale a un nuevo material. 'Se refería al capitalismo y controlar y dominar la tierra. Su historia es la de un hombre, de un hombre blanco, de un "hombre pensante".

Mis malas hierbas no son las malas hierbas de Emerson. Los que veo tienen historias de globalización y migraciones masivas. La mayoría de las malas hierbas en los EE. UU. Están aquí porque alguien alguna vez pensó que eran útiles. El lenguaje que los rodea hoy es problemático: "nativo", "invasivo", "ajeno", como si fuera un microcosmos de nuestra política. Miro mi césped descuidado y es todo maleza. Hay manzanilla y margarita, que el Servicio de Parques Nacionales ha calificado de 'ornamental peligrosa' y sabe a rúcula en ensalada de milenrama que Aquiles llevó para curar las heridas de sus tropas. 'por sus propiedades medicinales el trébol rojo que puede utilizarse como pienso para animales o para moderar las hormonas femeninas. Hay muelles y plátano.

Deborah Pierce Bonnell, Encaje de la reina Ana, 2014. Cortesía: el artista.

Estas plantas y sus historias no son simples. A menudo fueron traídos por colonizadores blancos. El plátano también se llama "pie de hombre blanco" porque viajaba a todos los lugares a los que iban los blancos. Sus hojas tiernas hacen que las verduras de ensalada sean ricas en nutrientes y como ungüento, incluso masticadas en saliva, funcionan como un gran sanador de cortes.

Otras malezas guardan secretos de resistencia. El encaje de la reina Ana, con sus cabezas blancas onduladas, es una zanahoria salvaje. La raíz es comestible, pero sus semillas son otra historia, o más bien, son mi historia. Son un inhibidor de la progesterona y pueden funcionar como la píldora del día después o, si se toman a diario, como píldora anticonceptiva. Las largas hojas de la artemisa ondean a los coches que pasan a toda velocidad por los bordes de las carreteras. Sus hojas, con su envés plateado, huelen a pino y salvia. Son una potente fuente de tuyona, un compuesto natural con cualidades psicotrópicas. Se rumorea que es la razón por la que las brujas vuelan, la planta genera sueños vívidos y acelerados. También modula las hormonas de la mujer y puede inducir el aborto. Sus raíces son un rizoma, extendiéndose exponencialmente. Al verlo en Brooklyn a lo largo del canal de Gowanus contaminado, pienso en las mujeres que deben haberlo traído aquí e imagino sus necesidades, miedos y sueños.

Artemisa, con su nombre que suena fangoso ("mosto" significa raíz), es el comienzo del "Encanto de las Nueve Hierbas". Publicado en el Lacnunga, un libro de remedios a base de hierbas de finales del siglo X o principios del XI, el hechizo invoca la planta como si estuviera viva y presente:

eres poderoso contra el veneno

Eres poderoso contra el mal

que pasa por la tierra

El unicornio descansa en un jardín, de "Unicorn Tapestries", 1495-1505. Cortesía: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York

Después de leer el amuleto, la artemisa, la "primera" y "la más antigua", se convirtió para mí en un signo de rebelión. Donald Trump era presidente entonces y desafiaba los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres. Quería esta planta en todas partes, a lo largo de carreteras y cercas de ciclones, en estacionamientos y suelos pobres. Mientras corría por Prospect Park por la mañana, lo saludaba. Veo sus hojas en verano y pienso en las historias perdidas de las mujeres. La primera vez que lo tomé, en 2018, seguí las instrucciones que un jardinero del museo The Met Cloisters en Manhattan le había dado a la artista Marlene McCarty. Tuve sueños de
empacar la mochila roja de un niño adornado con personajes de dibujos animados y huir en una migración forzada, una visión acertada, al parecer, mirando hacia atrás.

Cuando el hechizo se comprometió con la escritura, fue uno de los últimos obstáculos contra el cristianismo. Cuatro siglos más tarde, un gran número de mujeres serían perseguidas como brujas por su conocimiento de las hierbas y, a medida que la agricultura se convirtió en monocultivos, con cultivos dispuestos en hileras y líneas como una perspectiva de un solo punto, la tierra misma se convirtió en la riqueza y la herencia de los hombres. Luego vino la colonización, el capitalismo, la esclavitud y el despojo del poder de las mujeres sobre sus vidas y cuerpos. La medicina también se convirtió en el dominio del hombre. En los Estados Unidos, los colonos blancos, con la sanción del gobierno, robaron tierras y asesinaron a los nativos americanos porque querían cada vez más territorio para plantar sus oleadas de grano y algodón.

Emerson pronunció su discurso cerca del comienzo de la Larga Depresión (1873-1896), y estaba abordando la economía del algodón y la Guerra Civil en un argumento que no entiendo del todo. Esa depresión desató una narrativa contraria a la agricultura y el capitalismo. El año en que habló Emerson, los aparceros blancos y negros que cultivan algodón en el sur se estaban alineando, no la historia que a menudo escuchamos de la era posterior a la Reconstrucción, y su poder conjunto aterrorizó a los supremacistas blancos. Estos agricultores estaban siendo jodidos por el capitalismo, por los comerciantes, los bancos y los corredores de algodón. Al formar la Alianza de Agricultores en 1877, elevaron la conciencia de clase más allá de las líneas raciales. El grupo luchó por los sindicatos, las cooperativas y las reformas socialistas de la banca y los ferrocarriles. El algodón en sí mismo también ha sido una herramienta de resistencia: las mujeres esclavizadas llevaron el conocimiento de la planta de África, donde también crece. Algodón, o gosipio como se llama el género, tiene propiedades abortivas y, según he leído, puede suprimir los espermatozoides.

Ilustración de B.D. Basu y K.R. Kritkar, Indian Medicinal Plants, vol. 3, 1918. Cortesía: Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

Al leer el "Encanto de las nueve hierbas", pienso en los "Tapices de unicornio" (1495-1505). Una de mis estudiantes de posgrado, Kate Brock, escribe sobre ellos y señala la técnica de las millefleurs, con flores salpicadas por todas partes, convirtiéndose en el suelo, el aire, el éter. No hay nada entre las plantas y nosotros. Estos tapices se hicieron unos 500 años después de la grabación del "Encanto de las Nueve Hierbas", pero la técnica que emplean es de la época gótica. Esas plantas y flores impregnan todo lo que las figuras humanas se encuentran en medio de ellas como si fueran parte del follaje. En los tapices posteriores, observa Kate, las flores se reducen y se domestican. Se convierten en una línea debajo de los pies de los cazadores de unicornios. Las plantas y el suelo están ahora bajo nuestro dominio.

¿Qué es una mala hierba? Los míos son una economía de los lugares de desecho, fisgoneando a través de las grietas en el pavimento de los vertederos tóxicos, estacionamientos y bordes de carreteras, donde pueden ayudar a remediar los suelos. Estados Unidos gasta $ 20.5 mil millones anualmente en pesticidas para monocultivos para producir cultivos, esparciendo 23 millones de toneladas de fertilizantes en variedades de alto rendimiento de maíz, soja y trigo. La mayoría de los fertilizantes están basados ​​en nitrógeno y requieren metano para producirse. El metano es el principal impulsor del cambio climático.

Mis malas hierbas se oponen a eso. Crecen fuera de las filas, fuera de las líneas, afirmando otras narrativas. Estas plantas que ya no se consideran útiles, que la agricultura capitalista se propone destruir, pueden ayudar a recuperar esos paisajes perdidos. Los muelles son ricos en hierro milenrama, es antiinflamatorio y antiséptico. El plátano puede fitorremediar algunos insecticidas. La letanía de propiedades beneficiosas de Self-Heal incluye anti-envejecimiento, anti-cáncer, antiinflamatorio. En el verano, recojo y como sus flores púrpuras mientras camino por la hierba que no es hierba, sino una mala hierba, y eso cuenta historias de mi propia resistencia.

Este artículo apareció por primera vez en friso número 218 con el título "En la maleza'.

Imagen principal: El unicornio cruza un arroyo, de "Unicorn Tapestries", 1495-1505. Cortesía: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York


Únase a los expertos para una exploración virtual interdisciplinaria de los famosos tapices de unicornio de The Met Cloisters. Aprenda sobre el arte y la innovación detrás de los tapices y considere la relación compleja y duradera entre la humanidad y la naturaleza. El programa incluye conexiones prácticas del plan de estudios para la enseñanza y el aprendizaje con ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería, arte y matemáticas (STEAM). Para educadores de todas las disciplinas y grados.

Nota: este evento en vivo se lleva a cabo en Zoom. El espacio es limitado. Se requiere inscripción previa. La inscripción cierra el 21 de mayo de 2021 a las 5 pm (ET), o cuando el registro esté completo.

Los subtítulos generados automáticamente están disponibles.

Imagen: El unicornio descansa en un jardín (de los tapices de unicornio) (detalle), 1495-1505. Fabricado en París, Francia (dibujos animados) Fabricado en el sur de los Países Bajos (tejido), urdimbre de lana con tramas de lana, seda, plata y doradas, total: 144 7/8 x 99 pulgadas (368 x 251,5 cm). Museo Metropolitano de Arte, Nueva York, Obsequio de John D. Rockefeller Jr., 1937 (37.80.6)


¿De qué está hecho el cuerno de un unicornio?

La serie Cambridge Animal Alphabet celebra las conexiones de Cambridge con los animales a través de la literatura, el arte, la ciencia y la sociedad. Aquí, U es para Unicornio. A pesar de ser notoriamente difíciles de atrapar, aparecen en platos de mayólica, en la heráldica del siglo XV y en las primeras recetas de antivenenos.

La receta del siglo XVII para un antiveneno, "Polvo de barandilla", requería cuerno de unicornio, "bezoares del este" y "huesos" de corazón de ciervo.

Desplácese hasta el final del artículo para escuchar el podcast.

A primera vista, podría ser un caballo con melena ondulada y cola agitada, pero luego notas el cuerno largo y retorcido que sobresale de su frente. Mirando a este magnífico animal más de cerca, ves que sus pies son muy diferentes a los cascos de los caballos, divididos en dedos casi como pies humanos.

Nadie sabe exactamente cómo es un unicornio, pero el artista que decoró este plato de mayólica (en la colección del Museo Fitzwilliam: acc. No. C.86-1927) imaginó una criatura a gran escala. El joven jinete, que se sienta a horcajadas sobre una tela ricamente bordada, queda empequeñecido por el impresionante tamaño de su corcel encabritado.

La placa era originalmente parte de una serie, hecha en Italia a principios del siglo XVI, que representa la entrada triunfal de César en Roma después del final de la Segunda Guerra Púnica. La escena está tomada de un conjunto de xilografías y la letra H marca su lugar en la narración. Se cree que los platos fueron producidos por un taller en Cafaggiolo, no lejos de Florencia.

El atrevido diseño es una prueba de que los unicornios no siempre han sido las criaturas tímidas y amables que los bestiarios medievales y la literatura infantil del siglo XX quisieran hacernos creer. De hecho, fueron una feroz adición a las filas de las bestias míticas en los textos clásicos. Plinio el Viejo describió al unicornio así:

“… Un animal muy feroz llamado monoceros que tiene cabeza de ciervo, patas de elefante y cola de jabalí, mientras que el resto del cuerpo es como el del caballo, hace un mugido profundo, y tiene un solo cuerno negro, que se proyecta desde la mitad de su frente ".

Desde estos inicios quiméricos, el unicornio tomó una variedad de direcciones en términos de apariencia y simbolismo. Se convirtió en un emblema de Cristo en la Edad Media y se usó a menudo en heráldica desde el siglo XV en adelante. El león y el unicornio son los símbolos del Reino Unido, el león representa a Inglaterra y el unicornio a Escocia.

La colección del Museo Fitzwilliam está llena de unicornios. Algunas de las más seductoras aparecen en "libros de horas" y "bestiarios". El investigador independiente, Robert Lloyd Parry, investigó solo algunos de ellos en el curso de la investigación de una exploración de signos y símbolos en el arte para el sitio web de Fitzwilliam.

Un Libro de Horas flamenco, que data de 1526, muestra la Anunciación. María se sienta en un jardín amurallado (símbolo de su virginidad) y un unicornio blanco descansa su cuerno en su regazo. Dios Padre se asoma por detrás de una zarza ardiendo detrás de ella y, más allá del jardín, Gabriel toca un cuerno de caza.

Un manuscrito iluminado del siglo XV, una traducción al francés de una enciclopedia del siglo XIII, representa a un unicornio en el Jardín del Edén antes de la Caída del Hombre. Lloyd Parry escribe: “Dios el Padre sostiene la mano derecha de Adán y Eva con ángeles y animales mirando. Un arroyo emerge del suelo a los pies de Dios. El cuerno del unicornio apunta hacia sus aguas cristalinas, una referencia quizás a sus legendarias habilidades para purificar el agua ".

Es probable que una criatura mágica tenga poderes mágicos: el cuerno de unicornio se asocia con la pureza. Natalie Lawrence, candidata a doctorado en el Departamento de Historia y Filosofía de la Ciencia de Cambridge, está investigando los primeros encuentros con criaturas exóticas, incluidas las oportunidades que presentaban para comerciantes y boticarios.

El trabajo de Lawrence ofrece nuevos conocimientos sobre cómo se atribuían poderes protectores y curativos a las sustancias naturales, en un momento en que existía un miedo generalizado al envenenamiento. La receta del siglo XVII para un antiveneno, "Polvo de barandilla", requería cuerno de unicornio, "bezoares del este" y "huesos" de corazón de ciervo. Los miembros de la nobleza compraron vajillas y tazas con bases de "cuerno de unicornio" para evitar ser envenenados, y la Silla del Trono de Dinamarca (construida entre 1662 y 1671) incluso está hecha de "cuerno de unicornio".

El "cuerno de unicornio" medicinal en polvo era generalmente marfil de morsa, cuerno de rinoceronte o colmillo de narval, a veces llamado "unicornio marino". El problema de distinguir el 'cuerno verdadero' fue comentado por el médico francés, Pierre Martin La Martinière (1634-1690), quien describió la dificultad de saber 'qué Criatura, el Unicornio correcto ... habiendo varios Animales que los griegos llaman Monoceros, y el Latines Uni-Cornis ', desde una variedad de cuadrúpedos terrestres y' serpientes ', hasta el' elefante marino '(morsa).

Los materiales como el marfil de morsa, cuando se identifican como tales, podrían poseer cualidades similares al cuerno de unicornio. Un boticario, un 'señor Alexander Woodson de Bristoll', 'un hábil Phisition', tenía 'uno de estos dientes de bestia, que' había probado todo 'al' ministrar medicina a sus pacientes, y lo había encontrado como soveraigne contra poyson como cualquier unicornio horne '.

Los vínculos implícitos entre los unicornios y estas otras bestias no disminuyeron los poderes médicos percibidos de los cuernos. El erudito danés Ole Worm (1588-1655) desmintió la existencia del unicornio terrestre en una conferencia pública utilizando el cráneo de un narval, pero aún así dio testimonio de la potencia médica del cuerno. Worm describió experimentos en los que animales envenenados habían sido revividos mediante la administración de cuerno de "unicornio marino" en polvo.

A principios del siglo XVIII, los "cuernos de unicornio" eran mucho menos apreciados en las colecciones, perdiendo parte de su estatus de "rarezas", ya que las importaciones de gran volumen en Europa inundaron el mercado. Pero el atractivo del unicornio en sí, especialmente las encarnaciones como la criatura voluble y voluble de CS Lewis Narnia libros, nunca ha disminuido.

Quizás esto se deba a que, lo que es más famoso, siempre han sido extremadamente difíciles de atrapar.

Siguiente en el Cambridge Animal Alphabet: V es para un animal que es responsable de hasta 94,000 muertes al año, pero que también se usa para ayudar a desarrollar tratamientos para enfermedades como hemofilia, trombosis venosa profunda, embolia pulmonar, ataque cardíaco y accidente cerebrovascular.

¿Te has perdido la serie hasta ahora? Ponte al día con Medium aquí.

Imágenes insertadas: Detalle de Saludos de la Virgen, del Libro de Horas de Carew-Poyntz (Museo Fitzwilliam) Detalle de la lectura de la Virgen en un jardín cerrado, Libro de Horas, de Geert Grote (Museo Fitzwilliam) Unicornios de las primeras historias naturales modernas de Topsell y Johnstone Ilustración de un cráneo de narval del libro de Ole Worm.

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El texto de este trabajo está sujeto a una licencia internacional Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. Para el uso de imágenes, consulte los créditos separados arriba.


Contenido

Formación Editar

La base de la estructura arquitectónica del museo provino de la colección de George Gray Barnard, un escultor y coleccionista estadounidense que casi sin ayuda estableció un museo de arte medieval cerca de su casa en la sección de Fort Washington en el Alto Manhattan. Aunque era un escultor exitoso que había estudiado en el Art Institute of Chicago, sus ingresos no eran suficientes para mantener a su familia. Barnard era un tomador de riesgos y llevó la mayor parte de su vida al borde de la pobreza. [6] Se mudó a París en 1883, donde estudió en la Académie des Beaux-Arts. [6] Vivió en el pueblo de Moret-sur-Loing, cerca de Fontainebleau, entre 1905 y 1913, [7] y comenzó a comerciar con objetos europeos de los siglos XIII y XIV para complementar sus ingresos. En el proceso, construyó una gran colección personal de lo que describió como "antigüedades", al principio comprando y vendiendo objetos independientes con comerciantes franceses, [8] luego mediante la adquisición de en el lugar artefactos arquitectónicos de los agricultores locales. [6]

Barnard estaba interesado principalmente en las abadías e iglesias fundadas por órdenes monásticas del siglo XII. Tras siglos de pillaje y destrucción durante guerras y revoluciones, las poblaciones locales reutilizaron las piedras de muchos de estos edificios. [6] Un pionero en ver el valor de tales artefactos, Barnard a menudo se encontró con la hostilidad hacia su esfuerzo por parte de grupos locales y gubernamentales. [7] Sin embargo, era un negociador astuto que tenía la ventaja del ojo de un escultor profesional para el tallado en piedra superior, y en 1907 había construido una colección de alta calidad a un costo relativamente bajo. Se dice que pagó $ 25,000 por los edificios de Trie, $ 25,000 por el Bonnefort y $ 100,000 por los claustros de Cuxa. [9] Su éxito lo llevó a adoptar una visión un tanto romántica de sí mismo. Recordó andar en bicicleta por la campiña francesa y desenterrar obras maestras góticas caídas y olvidadas en el camino. Afirmó haber encontrado la efigie de la tumba de Jean d'Alluye boca abajo, en uso como puente sobre un pequeño arroyo. [8] En 1914 había reunido suficientes artefactos para abrir una galería en Manhattan. [10]

Barnard a menudo descuidaba sus finanzas personales, [9] y estaba tan desorganizado que a menudo extraviaba el origen o la procedencia de sus compras. Vendió su colección a John D. Rockefeller Jr. en 1925 durante una de sus recurrentes crisis monetarias. [11] Los dos fueron presentados por el arquitecto William W. Bosworth. [12] Adquirido para el Museo Metropolitano de Arte, la adquisición incluyó estructuras que se convertirían en la base y el núcleo del museo. [6] [7] Rockefeller y Barnard eran polos opuestos tanto en temperamento como en perspectiva y no se llevaban bien Rockefeller era reservado, Barnard exuberante. El pintor y crítico de arte inglés Roger Fry era entonces el principal agente de adquisiciones europeo del Metropolitan y actuó como intermediario. [13] Rockefeller finalmente adquirió la colección de Barnard por alrededor de $ 700,000, reteniendo a Barnard como asesor. [14]

En 1927, Rockefeller contrató a Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., hijo de uno de los diseñadores de Central Park, y a la firma Olmsted Brothers para crear un parque en el área de Fort Washington. [15] En febrero de 1930, Rockefeller se ofreció a construir los Claustros para el Metropolitano. [16] En consulta con Bosworth, [7] decidió construir el museo en un sitio de 66,5 acres (26,9 ha) en Fort Tryon Park, que eligieron por su elevación, vistas y ubicación accesible pero aislada. [10] El terreno y los edificios existentes se compraron ese año de la propiedad de C. K. G. Billings y otras propiedades en el área de Fort Washington. El edificio Cloisters y los jardines adyacentes de 4 acres (1,6 ha) fueron diseñados por Charles Collens. [17] Incorporan elementos de abadías de Cataluña y Francia. Piezas de Sant Miquel de Cuixà, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-sur-Baïse y Froville se desmontaron piedra a piedra y se enviaron a la ciudad de Nueva York, donde se reconstruyeron e integraron en un conjunto cohesivo. Construction took place over a five-year period from 1934. [18] Rockefeller bought several hundred acres of the New Jersey Palisades, which he donated to the State in an effort to preserve the view from the museum. [19] The Cloisters' new building and gardens were officially opened on May 10, 1938, [20] though the public was not allowed to visit until four days later. [21]

Early acquisitions Edit

Rockefeller financed the purchase of many of the early collection of works, often buying independently and then donating the items to the museum. [5] His financing of the museum has led to it being described as "perhaps the supreme example of curatorial genius working in exquisite harmony with vast wealth". [6] The second major donor was the industrialist J. P. Morgan, founder of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, who spent the last 20 years of his life acquiring artworks, "on an imperial scale" according to art historian Jean Strous, [22] spending some $900 million (inflation adjusted) in total. After his death, his son J. P. Morgan Jr. donated a large number of works from the collection to the Metropolitan. [23]

A further major early source of objects was the art dealer Joseph Brummer (1883–1947), long a friend of a curator at the Cloisters, James Rorimer. Rorimer had long recognized the importance of Brummer's collection, and purchased large quantities of objects in the months after Brummer's sudden death in 1947. According to Christine E. Brennan of the Metropolitan, Rorimer realized that the collection offered works that could rival the Morgan Collection in the Metropolitan's Main Building, and that "the decision to form a treasury at The Cloisters was reached. because it had been the only opportunity since the late 1920s to enrich the collection with so many liturgical and secular objects of such high quality." [24] These pieces, including works in gold, silver, and ivory, are today held in the Treasury room of the Cloisters. [24]

The museum's collection of artworks consists of approximately five thousand individual pieces. They are displayed across a series of rooms and spaces, mostly separate from those dedicated to the installed architectural artifacts. The Cloisters has never focused on building a collection of masterpieces, rather the objects are chosen thematically yet arranged simply to enhance the atmosphere created by the architectural elements in the particular setting or room in which they are placed. [5] To create the atmosphere of a functioning series of cloisters, many of the individual works, including capitals, doorways, stained glass, and windows are placed within the architectural elements themselves. [25]

Panel paintings and sculpture Edit

The museum's best-known panel painting is Robert Campin's c. 1425–28 Mérode Altarpiece, a foundational work in the development of Early Netherlandish painting, [26] which has been at The Cloisters since 1956. Its acquisition was funded by Rockefeller and described at the time as a "major event for the history of collecting in the United States". [27] The triptych is well preserved with little overpainting, glossing, dirt layers or paint loss. [28] Other panel paintings in the collection include a Nativity triptych altarpiece attributed to a follower of Rogier van der Weyden, [29] and the Jumieges panels by an unknown French master. [30]

The 12th-century English walrus ivory Cloisters Cross contains over ninety-two intricately carved figures and ninety-eight inscriptions. A similar 12th-century French metalwork reliquary cross contains six sequences of engravings on either side of its shaft, and across the four sides of its lower arms. [31] Further pieces of note include a 13th-century, English Enthroned Virgin and Child statuette, [32] a c. 1490 German statue of Saint Barbara, [33] and an early 16th-century boxwood Miniature Altarpiece with the Crucifixion. [34] Other significant works include fountains and baptismal fonts, chairs, [35] aquamaniles (water containers in animal or human form), bronze lavers, alms boxes and playing cards. [36]

The museum has an extensive collection of medieval European frescoes, ivory statuettes, reliquary wood and metal shrines and crosses, as well as examples of the very rare Gothic boxwood miniatures. [37] It has liturgical metalwork vessels and rare pieces of Gothic furniture and metalwork. [38] Many pieces are not associated with a particular architectural setting, so their placement in the museum may vary. [39] Some of the objects have dramatic provenance, including those plundered from the estates of aristocrats during the French Revolutionary Army's occupation of the Southern Netherlands. [40] The Unicorn tapestries were for a period used by the French army to cover potatoes and keep them from freezing. [41] The set was purchased by Rockefeller in 1922 and six of the tapestries hung in his New York home until donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1938. [42]

Illuminated manuscripts Edit

The museum's collection of illuminated books is small, but of exceptional quality. J.P. Morgan was a major early donor, but although his taste leaned heavily towards rare printed and illuminated books, [43] he donated very few to the Metropolitan, instead preserving them at the Morgan Library. [23] At the same time, the consensus within the Met was that the Cloisters should focus on architectural elements, sculpture and decorative arts to enhance the environmental quality of the institution, whereas manuscripts were considered more suited to the Morgan Library in lower Manhattan. [44] The Cloisters' books are today displayed in the Treasury room, and include the French "Cloisters Apocalypse" (or "Book of Revelation", c. 1330, probably Normandy), [45] Jean Pucelle's "Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux" (c. 1324–28), the "Psalter of Bonne de Luxembourg", attributed to Jean Le Noir and the "Belles Heures du Duc de Berry" (c. 1399–1416) attributed to the Limbourg brothers. [46] In 2015 the Cloisters acquired a small Netherlandish Book of Hours illuminated by Simon Bening. [47] Each is of exceptional quality, and their acquisition was a significant achievement for the museum's early collectors. [44]

A coat of arms illustrated on one of the leaves of the "Cloisters Apocalypse" suggests it was commissioned by a member of the de Montigny family of Coutances, Normandy. [48] Stylistically it resembles other Norman illuminated books, as well as some designs on stained glass, of the period. [49] The book was in Switzerland by 1368, possibly at the abbey of Zofingen, in the canton of Aargau. It was acquired by the Met in 1968. [50]

The "Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux" is a very small early Gothic book of hours containing 209 folios, of which 25 are full-page miniatures. It is lavishly decorated in grisaille drawings, historiated initials and almost 700 border images. Jeanne d'Évreux was the third wife of Charles IV of France, and after their deaths the book went into the possession of Charles' brother, Jean, duc de Berry. The use of grisaille (shades of gray) drawings allowed the artist to give the figures a highly sculptural form, [51] and the miniatures contain structures typical of French Gothic architecture of the period. The book has been described as "the high point of Parisian court painting", and evidence of "the unprecedentedly refined artistic tastes of the time". [52]

The "Belles Heures" is widely regarded as one of the finest extant examples of manuscript illumination, and very few books of hours are as richly decorated. It is the only surviving complete book attributed to the Limbourg brothers. [53] Rockefeller purchased the book from Maurice de Rothschild in 1954, and donated it to the Metropolitan. [54]

The very small "Bonne de Luxembourg" manuscript (each leaf 12.5 × 8.4 × 3.9 cm) is attributed to Jean le Noir, and noted for its preoccupation with death. It was commissioned for Bonne de Luxembourg, Duchess of Normandy, daughter of John the Blind and the wife of John II of France, probably at the end of her husband's life, c. 1348–49. It was in a private collection for many years, and thus known only through poor-quality photographic reproductions until acquired by the museum in 1969. Produced in tempera, grisaille, ink, and gold leaf on vellum, it had been rarely studied and was until that point misattributed to Jean Pucelle. Following its acquisition, it was studied by art historians, after which attribution was given to Le Noir. [55]

Tapestries Edit

While examples of textile art are displayed throughout the museum, there are two dedicated rooms given to individual series of tapestries, the South Netherlandish Nine Heroes (c. 1385) [56] and FlemishThe Hunt of the Unicorn (c. 1500). [57] The Nine Heroes room is entered from the Cuxa cloisters. [56] Its 14th-century tapestries are one of the earliest surviving examples of tapestry, and are thought to be the original versions following widely influential and copied designs attributed to Nicolas Bataille. They were acquired over a period of twenty years, involving the purchase of more than 20 individual fragments which were then sewn together during a long reassembly process. The chivalric figures represent the scriptural and legendary Nine Worthies, who consist of three pagans (Hector, Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar), three Jews (Joshua, David and Judas Maccabeus) and three Christians (King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon). Of these, five figures survive: Hector, Caesar, Joshua, David and Arthur. [58] They have been described as representing "in their variety, the highest level of a rich and powerful social structure of later fourteenth-century France". [59]

los Hunt of the Unicorn room can be entered from the hall containing the Nine Heroes via an early 16th-century door carved with representations of unicorns. [60] The unicorn tapestries consist of a series of large, colourful hangings and fragment textiles [61] designed in Paris [58] and woven in Brussels or Liège. Noted for their vivid colourization—dominated by blue, yellow-brown, red, and gold hues—and the abundance of a wide variety of flora, [62] they were produced for Anne of Brittany and completed c. 1495–1505. [63] The tapestries were purchased by Rockefeller in 1922 for about one million dollars, and donated to the museum in 1937. [64] They were cleaned and restored in 1998, and are now hung in a dedicated room on the museum's upper floor. [sesenta y cinco]

The large "Nativity" panel (also known as "Christ is Born as Man's Redeemer") from c. 1500, South Netherlandish (probably in Brussels), Burgos Tapestry was acquired by the museum in 1938. It was originally one of a series of eight tapestries representing the salvation of man, [66] with individual scenes influenced by identifiable panel paintings, including by van der Weyden. [67] It was badly damaged in earlier centuries: it had been cut into several irregular pieces and undergone several poor-quality restorations. The panel underwent a long process of restoration from 1971, undertaken by Tina Kane and Alice Blohm of the Metropolitan's Department of Textile Conservation. It is today hung in the Late Gothic hall. [68]

Stained glass Edit

The Cloisters' collection of stained glass consists of around three hundred panels, generally French and Germanic and mostly from the 13th to early 16th centuries. [70] A number were formed from handmade opalescent glass. Works in the collection are characterized by vivid colors and often abstract designs and patterns many have a devotional image as a centerpiece. [71] The majority of these works are in the museum's Boppard room, named after the Carmelite church of Saint Severinus in Boppard, near Koblenz, Germany. [10] The collection's pot-metal works (from the High Gothic period) highlight the effects of light, [72] especially the transitions between darkness, shadow and illumination. [73] The Met's collection grew in the early 20th century when Raymond Picairn made acquisitions at a time when medieval glass was not highly regarded by connoisseurs, and was difficult to extract and transport. [74]

Jane Hayward, a curator at the museum from 1969 who began the museum's second phase of acquisition, describes stained glass as "unquestioningly the preeminent form of Gothic medieval monumental painting". [75] She bought c. 1500 heraldic windows from the Rhineland, now in the Campin room with the Mérode Altarpiece. Hayward's addition in 1980 led to a redesign of the room so that the installed pieces would echo the domestic setting of the altarpiece. She wrote that the Campin room is the only gallery in the Met "where domestic rather than religious art predominates. a conscious effort has been made to create a fifteenth-century domestic interior similar to the one shown in [Campin's] Annunciation panel." [76]

Other significant acquisitions include late 13th-century grisaille panels from the Château-de-Bouvreuil in Rouen, glass work from the Cathedral of Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais at Sées, [76] and panels from the Acezat collection, now in the Heroes Tapestry Hall. [77]

The building is set into a steep hill, and thus the rooms and halls are divided between an upper entrance and a ground-floor level. The enclosing exterior building is mostly modern, and is influenced by and contains elements from the 13th-century church at Saint-Geraud at Monsempron, France, from which the northeast end of the building borrows especially. It was mostly designed by the architect Charles Collens, who took influence from works in Barnard's collection. Rockefeller closely managed both the building's design and construction, which sometimes frustrated the architects and builders. [78]

The building contains architecture elements and settings taken mostly from four French abbeys, which between 1934 and 1939 were transported, reconstructed, and integrated with new buildings in a project overseen by Collins. He told Rockefeller that the new building "should present a well-studied outline done in the very simplest form of stonework growing naturally out of the rocky hill-top. After looking through the books in the Boston Athenaeum . we found a building at Monsempron in Southern France of a type which would lend itself in a very satisfactory manner to such a treatment." [78]

The architects sought to both memorialize the north hill's role in the American Revolution and to provide a sweeping view over the Hudson River. Construction of the exterior began in 1935. The stonework, primarily of limestone and granite from several European sources, [79] includes four Gothic windows from the refectory at Sens and nine arcades. [80] The dome of the Fuentidueña Chapel was especially difficult to fit into the planned area. [81] The east elevation, mostly of limestone, contains nine arcades from the Benedictine priory at Froville and four flamboyant French Gothic windows from the Dominican monastery at Sens. [80]

Cloisters Edit

Cuxa Edit

Located on the south side of the building's main level, the Cuxa cloisters are the museum's centerpiece both structurally and thematically. [72] They were originally erected at the Benedictine Abbey of Sant Miquel de Cuixà on Mount Canigou, in the northeast French Pyrenees, which was founded in 878. [82] The monastery was abandoned in 1791 and fell into disrepair its roof collapsed in 1835 and its bell tower fell in 1839. [83] About half of its stonework was moved to New York between 1906 and 1907. [82] [84] The installation became one of the first major undertakings by the Metropolitan after it acquired Barnard's collection. After intensive work over the fall and winter of 1925–26, the Cuxa cloisters were opened to the public on April 1, 1926. [85] [5]

The quadrangle-shaped garden once formed a center around which monks slept in cells. The original garden seemed to have been lined by walkways around adjoining arches lined with capitals enclosing the garth. [86] It is impossible now to represent solely medieval species and arrangements those in the Cuxa garden are approximations by botanists specializing in medieval history. [86] The oldest plan of the original building describes lilies and roses. [86] Although the walls are modern, the capitals and columns are original and cut from pink Languedoc marble from the Pyrenees. [85] The intersection of the two walkways contains an eight-sided fountain. [87]

The capitals were carved at different points in the abbey's history and thus contain a variety of forms and abstract geometric patterns, including scrolling leaves, pine cones, sacred figures such as Christ, the Apostles, angels, and monstrous creatures including two-headed animals, lions restrained by apes, mythic hybrids, a mermaid and inhuman mouths consuming human torsos. [88] [89] The motifs are derived from popular fables, [82] or represent the brute forces of nature or evil, [90] or are based on late 11th- and 12th-century monastic writings, such as those by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153). [91] The order in which the capitals were originally placed is unknown, making their interpretation especially difficult, although a sequential and continuous narrative was probably not intended. [92] According to art historian Thomas Dale, to the monks, the "human figures, beasts, and monsters" may have represented the "tension between the world and the cloister, the struggle to repress the natural inclinations of the body". [93]

Saint-Guilhem Edit

The Saint-Guilhem cloisters were taken from the site of the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, and date from 804 AD to the 1660s. [94] Their acquisition around 1906 was one of Barnard's early purchases. The transfer to New York involved the movement of around 140 pieces, including capitals, columns and pilasters. [9] The carvings on the marble piers and column shafts recall Roman sculpture and are coiled by extravagant foliage, including vines. [95] The capitals contain acanthus leaves and grotesque heads peering out, [96] including figures at the Presentation at the Temple, Daniel in the Lions' Den [97] and the Mouth of Hell, [98] and several pilasters and columns. [94] The carvings seem preoccupied with the evils of hell. Those beside the mouth of hell contain representations of the devil and tormenting beasts, with, according to Young, "animal-like body parts and cloven hoofs [as they] herd naked sinners in chains to be thrown into an upturned monster's mouth". [99]

The Guilhem cloisters are inside the museum's upper level and are much smaller than originally built. [100] Its garden contains a central fountain [101] and plants potted in ornate containers, including a 15th-century glazed earthenware vase. The area is covered by a skylight and plate glass panels that conserve heat in the winter months. Rockefeller had initially wanted a high roof and clerestory windows, but was convinced by Joseph Breck, curator of decorative arts at the Metropolitan, to install a skylight. Breck wrote to Rockefeller that "by substituting a skylight for a solid ceiling . the sculpture is properly illuminated, since the light falls in a natural way the visitor has the sense of being in the open and his attention, consequently, is not attracted to the modern superstructure." [102]

Bonnefont Edit

The Bonnefont cloisters were assembled from several French monasteries, but mostly come from a late 12th-century Cistercian Abbaye de Bonnefont [fr] at Bonnefont-en-Comminges, southwest of Toulouse. [103] The abbey was intact until at least 1807, and by the 1850s all of its architectural features had been removed from the site, often for decoration of nearby buildings. [104] Barnard purchased the stonework in 1937. [105] Today the Bonnefont cloisters contain 21 double capitals, and surround a garden that contains many features typical of the medieval period, including a central wellhead, raised flower beds and lined with wattle fences. [106] The marbles are highly ornate and decorated, some with grotesque figures. [107] The inner garden has been set with a medlar tree of the type found in The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, and is centered around a wellhead placed at Bonnefont-en-Comminges in the 12th century. [108] The Bonnefont is on the upper level of the museum and gives a view of the Hudson River and the cliffs of the Palisades. [10]

Trie Edit

The Trie cloisters was compiled from two late 15th- to early 16th-century French structures. [110] Most of its components came from the Carmelite convent at Trie-sur-Baïse in south-western France, whose original abbey, except for the church, was destroyed by Huguenots in 1571. [111] Small narrow buttresses were added in New York during the 1950s by Breck. [81] The rectangular garden hosts around 80 species of plants and contains a tall limestone cascade fountain at its center. [112] Like those from Saint-Guilhem, the Trie cloisters have been given modern roofing. [113]

The convent at Trie-sur-Baïse featured some 80 white marble capitals [114] carved between 1484 and 1490. [110] Eighteen were moved to New York and contain numerous biblical scenes and incidents form the lives of saints. Several of the carvings are secular, including those of legendary figures such as Saint George and the Dragon, [114] the "wild man" confronting a grotesque monster, and a grotesque head wearing an unusual and fanciful hat. [114] The capitals are placed in chronological order, beginning with God in the act of creation at the northwest corner, Adam and Eve in the west gallery, followed by the Binding of Isaac, and Matthew and John writing their gospels. Capitals in the south gallery illustrate scenes from the life of Christ. [115]

Jardines Editar

The Cloisters' three gardens, the Judy Black Garden at the Cuxa Cloister on the main level, and the Bonnefont and Trie Cloisters gardens on the lower level, [116] were laid out and planted in 1938. They contain a variety of rare medieval species, [117] with a total of over 250 genera of plants, flowers, herbs and trees, making it one of the world's most important collections of specialized gardens. The garden's design was overseen by Rorimer during the museum's construction. He was aided by Margaret Freeman, who conducted extensive research into the keeping of plants and their symbolism in the Middle Ages. [118] Today the gardens are tended by a staff of horticulturalists the senior members are also historians of 13th- and 14th-century gardening techniques. [119]

Gothic chapel Edit

The Gothic chapel is set on the museum's ground level, and was built to display its stained glass and large sculpture collections. The entrance from the upper level Early Gothic Hall is lit by stained glass double-lancet windows, carved on both sides, and acquired from the church of La Tricherie, France. [120] The ground level is entered through a large door at its east wall. This entrance begins with a pointed Gothic arch leading to high bayed ceilings, ribbed vaults and buttress. [121] The three center windows are from the church of Sankt Leonhard, in southern Austria, from c. 1340. The glass panels include a depiction of Martin of Tours as well as complex medallion patterns. [121] The glass on the east wall comes from Evron Abbey, Normandy, and dates from around 1325. [122] The apse contains three large sculptures by the main windows two larger than life-size female saints dating from the 14th century, and a Burgundian Bishop dating from the 13th. [123] The large limestone sculpture of Saint Margaret on the wall by the stairs dates to around 1330 and is from the church of Santa Maria de Farfanya [ca] in Lleida, Catalonia. [121] Each of the six effigies are supreme examples of sepulchral art. [124] Three are from the Bellpuig Monastery [ca] in Catalonia. [124] The monument directly facing the main windows is the c. 1248–67 sarcophagus of Jean d'Alluye, a knight of the crusades, who was thought to have returned from the Holy Land with a relic of the True Cross. He is shown as a young man, his eyes open, and dressed in chain armor, with his longsword and shield. [123] The female effigy of a lady, found in Normandy, dates to the mid 13th century and is perhaps of Margaret of Gloucester. [125] Although resting on a modern base, [126] she is dressed in high contemporary aristocratic fashion, including a mantle, cotte, jewel-studded belt and an elaborate ring necklace brooch. [127]

Four of the effigies were made for the Urgell family, are set into the chapel walls, and are associated with the church of Santa Maria at Castello de Farfanya, redesigned in the Gothic style for Ermengol X (died c. 1314). [124] The elaborate sarcophagus of Ermengol VII, Count of Urgell (d. 1184) is placed on the left hand wall facing the chapel's south windows. It is supported by three stone lions, and a grouping of mourners carved into the slab, which also shows Christ in Majesty flanked by the Twelve Apostles. [128] The three other Urgell tombs also date to the mid 13th century, and maybe of Àlvar of Urgell and his second wife, Cecilia of Foix, the parents of Ermengol X, and that of a young boy, possibly Ermengol IX, the only one of their direct line ancestors known to have died in youth. [125] The slabs of the double tomb on the wall opposite Ermengol VII, contain the effigies of his parents, and have been slanted forward to offer a clear view of the stonework. The heads are placed on cushions, which are decorated with arms. The male's feet rest on a dog, while the cushion under the woman's head is held by an angel. [129]

Fuentidueña chapel Edit

The Fuentidueña chapel is the museum's largest room, [130] and is entered through a broad oak door flanked by sculptures that include leaping animals. Its centerpiece is the Fuentidueña Apse, a semicircular Romanesque recess built between about 1175 to 1200 at the Saint Joan church at Fuentidueña, Segovia. [131] By the 19th century, the church was long abandoned and in disrepair.

It was acquired by Rockefeller for the Cloisters in 1931, following three decades of complex negotiation and diplomacy between the Spanish church and both countries' art-historical hierarchies and governments. It was eventually exchanged in a deal that involved the transfer of six frescoes from San Baudelio de Berlanga to the Prado, on an equally long-term loan. [33] The structure was disassembled into almost 3,300 mostly sandstone and limestone blocks, each individually cataloged, and shipped to New York in 839 crates. [132]

It was rebuilt at the Cloisters in the late 1940s [133] It was such a large and complex reconstruction that it required the demolition of the former "Special Exhibition Room". The chapel was opened to the public in 1961, seven years after its installation had begun. [134]

The apse consists of a broad arch leading to a barrel vault, and culminates with a half-dome. [135] The capitals at the entrance contain representations of the Adoration of the Magi and Daniel in the lions' den. [136] The piers show Martin of Tours on the left and the angel Gabriel announcing to The Virgin on the right. The chapel includes other, mostly contemporary, medieval artwork. They include, in the dome, a large fresco dating to between 1130–50, from the Spanish Church of Sant Joan de Tredòs. The fresco's colorization resembles a Byzantine mosaic and is dedicated to the ideal of Mary as the mother of God. [137] Hanging within the apse is a crucifix made between about 1150 to 1200 for the Convent of St. Clara [es] in Astudillo, Spain. [138] Its reverse contains a depiction of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God), decorated with red and blue foliage at its frames. [139] The exterior wall holds three small, narrow and stilted windows, [136] which are nevertheless designed to let in the maximum amount of light. The windows were originally set within imposing fortress walls according to the art historian Bonnie Young "these small windows and the massive, fortress-like walls contribute to the feeling of austerity . typical of Romanesque churches." [135]

Langon chapel Edit

The Langon chapel is on the museum's ground level. Its right wall was built around 1126 for the Romanesque Cathédrale Notre-Dame-du-Bourg de Digne. [140] The chapter house consists of a single aisle nave and transepts [141] taken from a small Benedictine parish church built around 1115 at Notre Dame de Pontaut. [142] When acquired, it was in disrepair, its upper level in use as a storage place for tobacco. About three-quarters of its original stonework was moved to New York. [141]

The chapel is entered from the Romanesque hall through a doorway, a large, elaborate French Gothic stone entrance commissioned by the Burgundian court [10] for Moutiers-Saint-Jean Abbey in Burgundy, France. Moutiers-Saint-Jean was sacked, burned, and rebuilt several times. In 1567, the Huguenot army removed the heads from the two kings, and in 1797 the abbey was sold as rubble for rebuilding. The site lay in ruin for decades and lost further sculptural elements until Barnard arranged for the entrances' transfer to New York. The doorway had been the main portal of the abbey, and was probably built as the south transept door.

Carvings on the elaborate white oolitic limestone doorway depict the Coronation of the Virgin and contains foliated capitals and statuettes on the outer piers including two kings positioned in the embrasures and various kneeling angels. Carvings of angels are placed in the archivolts above the kings. [143] The large figurative sculptures on either side of the doorway represent the early Frankish kings Clovis I (d. 511) and his son Chlothar I (d. 561). [144] [145] The piers are lined with elaborate and highly detailed rows of statuettes, which are mostly set in niches, [146] and are badly damaged most have been decapitated. The heads on the right hand capital were for a time believed to represent Henry II of England. [147] Seven capitals survive from the original church, with carvings of human figures or heads, some of which as have been identified as historical persons, including Eleanor of Aquitaine. [141]

Romanesque hall Edit

The Romanesque hall contains three large church doorways, with the main visitor entrance adjoining the Guilhem Cloister. The monumental arched Burgundian doorway is from Moutier-Saint-Jean de Réôme in France and dates to c. 1150. [10] Two animals are carved into the keystones both rest on their hind legs as if about to attack each other. The capitals are lined with carvings of both real and imagined animals and birds, as well as leaves and other fauna. [148] The two earlier doorways are from Reugny, Allier, and Poitou in central France. [4] The hall contains four large early-13th-century stone sculptures representing the Adoration of the Magi, frescoes of a lion and a wyvern, each from the Monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza in north-central Spain. [10] On the left of the room are portraits of kings and angels, also from the monastery at Moutier-Saint-Jean. [148] The hall contains three pairs of columns positioned over an entrance with molded archivolts. They were taken from the Augustinian church at Reugny. [149] The Reugny site was badly damaged during the French Wars of Religion and again during the French Revolution. Most of the structures had been sold to a local man, Piere-Yon Verniere, by 1850, and were acquired by Barnard in 1906. [94]

Treasury room Edit

The Treasury room was opened in 1988 to celebrate the museum's 50th anniversary. It largely consists of small luxury objects acquired by the Met after it had built its initial collection, and draws heavily on acquisitions from the collection of Joseph Brummer. [150] The rooms contains the museum's collection of illuminated manuscripts, the French 13th-century arm-shaped silver reliquary, [151] and a 15th-century deck of playing cards. [152]

Library and archives Edit

The Cloisters contains one of the Metropolitan's 13 libraries. Focusing on medieval art and architecture, it holds over 15,000 volumes of books and journals, the museum's archive administration papers, curatorial papers, dealer records and the personal papers of Barnard, as well as early glass lantern slides of museum materials, manuscript facsimiles, scholarly records, maps and recordings of musical performances at the museum. [153] The library functions primarily as a resource for museum staff, but is available by appointment to researchers, art dealers, academics and students. [154] The archives contain early sketches and blueprints made during the early design phase of the museum's construction, as well as historical photographic collections. These include photographs of medieval objects from the collection of George Joseph Demotte, and a series taken during and just after World War II showing damage sustained to monuments and artifacts, including tomb effigies. They are, according to curator Lauren Jackson-Beck, of "prime importance to the art historian who is concerned with the identification of both the original work and later areas of reconstruction". [155] Two important series of prints are kept on microfilm: the "Index photographique de l'art en France" and the German "Marburg Picture Index". [155]

The Cloisters is governed by the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan's collections are owned by a private corporation of about 950 fellows and benefactors. The board of trustees comprise 41 elected members, several officials of the City of New York, and persons honored as trustees by the museum. The current chairman of the board is the businessman and art collector Daniel Brodsky, who was elected in 2011, [156] having previously served on its Real Estate Council in 1984 as a trustee of the museum and Vice Chairman of the Buildings Committee. [157]

A specialist museum, the Cloisters regularly acquires new works and rarely sells or otherwise gets rid of them. While the Metropolitan does not publish separate figures for the Cloisters, the entity as a whole spent $39 million on acquisitions for the fiscal year ending in June 2012. [158] The Cloisters seeks to balance its collection between religious and secular artifacts and artworks. With secular pieces, it typically favors those that indicate the range of artistic production in the medieval period, and according to art historian Timothy Husband, "reflect the fabric of daily [medieval European] life but also endure as works of art in their own right". [159] In 2011 it purchased the then-recently discovered The Falcon's Bath, a Southern Netherlands tapestry dated c. 1400–1415. It is of exceptional quality, and one of the best preserved surviving examples of its type. [160] Other recent acquisitions of significance include the 2015 purchase of a Book of Hours attributed to Simon Bening. [47]

The museum's architectural settings, atmosphere, and acoustics have made it a regular setting both for musical recitals and as a stage for medieval theater. Notable stagings include The Miracle of Theophilus in 1942, and John Gassner's adaption of The Second Shepherds' Play in 1954. [161] Recent significant exhibitions include "Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures" which ran in the summer of 2017 in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Ontario and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. [162]


6) Role of SS Panzer Divisions

Allied Sherman tanks crossing the newly-captured bridge at Nijmegen in the Netherlands during their advance as part of Operation Market Garden.

Before Operation Market Garden even started, Allied intelligence got reports that two well-equipped German SS Panzer (tank) divisions were in the area around Arnhem. But commanders of the operation, including Lt. Gen. Frederick 𠇋oy” Browning, decided the operation should go ahead anyway𠅊 risk that turned into a disaster for Allied troops at Arnhem.

The slow advance of the XXX Corps gave Germany time to strengthen its defenses, confront the advancing ground troops at Nijmegen, and subject the lone British battalion at Arnhem to a crippling onslaught, which they resisted fiercely before submitting on the fifth day of the battle. With the main objective of the operation lost, more than 3,000 British troops dug in at Oosterbeek until September 25, when they were forced to begin evacuating across the Rhine.


History of the Qilin

The qilin first appeared in the historical record with the Zuo Zhuan, or "Chronicle of Zuo," which describes events in China from 722 to 468 BCE. According to these records, the first Chinese writing system was transcribed around 3000 BCE from the markings on a qilin's back. A qilin is supposed to have heralded the birth of Confucius, c. 552 BCE. The founder of Korea's Goguryeo Kingdom, King Dongmyeong (r. 37-19 BCE), rode a qilin like a horse, according to legend.

Much later, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), we have solid historical evidence of at least two qilin showing up in China in 1413. Actually, they were giraffes from the coast of Somalia the great admiral Zheng He brought them back to Beijing after his fourth voyage (1413-14). The giraffes were immediately proclaimed to be qilin. The Yongle Emperor was naturally extremely pleased to have the symbol of wise leadership show up during his reign, courtesy of the Treasure Fleet.

Although traditional depictions of the qilin had a much shorter neck than any giraffe's, the association between the two animals remains strong to this day. In both Korea and Japan, the term for "giraffe" is kirin, or qilin.

Across East Asia, the qilin is one of the four noble animals, along with the dragon, the phoenix, and the tortoise. Individual qilin are said to live for 2000 years and can bring babies to deserving parents much in the manner of storks in Europe.


The Unicorn Rests in a Garden - History

The Unicorn in the Garden

by James Thurber
reprinted from
Fables For Our Time

Once upon a sunny morning a man who sat in a breakfast nook looked up from his scrambled eggs to see a white unicorn with a golden horn quietly cropping the roses in the garden. The man went up to the bedroom where his wife was still asleep and woke her. "There's a unicorn in the garden," he said. "Eating roses." She opened one unfriendly eye and looked at him.

"The unicorn is a mythical beast," she said, and turned her back on him. The man walked slowly downstairs and out into the garden. The unicorn was still there now he was browsing among the tulips. "Here, unicorn," said the man, and he pulled up a lily and gave it to him. The unicorn ate it gravely. With a high heart, because there was a unicorn in his garden, the man went upstairs and roused his wife again. "The unicorn," he said,"ate a lily." His wife sat up in bed and looked at him coldly. "You are a booby," she said, "and I am going to have you put in the booby-hatch."

The man, who had never liked the words "booby" and "booby-hatch," and who liked them even less on a shining morning when there was a unicorn in the garden, thought for a moment. "We'll see about that," he said. He walked over to the door. "He has a golden horn in the middle of his forehead," he told her. Then he went back to the garden to watch the unicorn but the unicorn had gone away. The man sat down among the roses and went to sleep.

As soon as the husband had gone out of the house, the wife got up and dressed as fast as she could. She was very excited and there was a gloat in her eye. She telephoned the police and she telephoned a psychiatrist she told them to hurry to her house and bring a strait-jacket. When the police and the psychiatrist arrived they sat down in chairs and looked at her, with great interest.

"My husband," she said, "saw a unicorn this morning." The police looked at the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist looked at the police. "He told me it ate a lilly," she said. The psychiatrist looked at the police and the police looked at the psychiatrist. "He told me it had a golden horn in the middle of its forehead," she said. At a solemn signal from the psychiatrist, the police leaped from their chairs and seized the wife. They had a hard time subduing her, for she put up a terrific struggle, but they finally subdued her. Just as they got her into the strait-jacket, the husband came back into the house.

"Did you tell your wife you saw a unicorn?" asked the police. "Of course not," said the husband. "The unicorn is a mythical beast." "That's all I wanted to know," said the psychiatrist. "Take her away. I'm sorry, sir, but your wife is as crazy as a jaybird."

So they took her away, cursing and screaming, and shut her up in an institution. The husband lived happily ever after.


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