Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yes, Samantha, there are unicorns....

My daughter, Samantha (4), is going through, as most girls do, a Unicorn phase. Possessing the beauty of horses and the magic of fairies unicorns have become her new "thing". Everything we draw and almost all the stories we tell have to include a unicorn.
I suppose I could buy a "My little Pony" and a copy of "The Last Unicorn" and be done, but Samantha is the daughter of a fantasy artist, and that just wouldn't do!
Fortunately for us we live not far from the most beautiful Unicorn art in history. The famed "Unicorn Tapestries" of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are housed in The Cloisters, which in itself is a work of art. Five unicorn tapestries are the centerpiece of this medieval art and architecture complex overlooking the palisades of the Hudson River, and are one of the best art destinations in NYC.
As a young man fascinated with medieval art and culture I would beg my parents to go to the Cloisters, but now living so close we go several times a year. This Sunday my family and I decided to see the "Unicorn Castle" again. Strolling through the halls of art and the stone cloisters on a cold November day, we had the museum to ourselves. We went from room to room finding griffins and dragons, and a whole bestiary of creatures carved into capitols and frescoed on walls, glazed into stained glass, gilded in candelabras and, of course, woven into tapestries. From the point of view of a four year old (and a forty year old) it was magical. I don't think I'll be taking up weaving or unicorns anytime soon, but a trip to the Cloisters is always an inspiring day!


to learn more about The Cloisters visit:
Metropolitan Museum: The Cloisters

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