A little nod to history for the medieval wall hanging “The Lady with the Unicorn”, which will be showcased from this autumn at the Abattoirs in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), the city where it had been hidden during the 1st World War, in the Convent of the Jacobins. Due to the modernization of the Musée de Cluny in Paris, it is indeed the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Pink City that was chosen to host this masterpiece, from October 30, 2021 to 16 January 2022. Composed of six tapestries woven around 1500, “The Lady with the Unicorn” illustrates the five senses, while the meaning of the sixth remains more mysterious: commented on by the inscription “To my only desire”, it could designate free will…
Often referred to as a medieval Mona Lisa
“We are very happy to welcome these emblematic tapestries to the Abattoirs. (…) Their presence will resonate in the midst of modern and contemporary works. This gathering is proof that the place of women and nature crosses the history of art and history universally, ”assures Annabelle Ténèze, director of the Abattoirs. “The Lady with the Unicorn” will dialogue in particular with “The remains of the minotaur in Harlequin costume” (1936), the stage curtain produced by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and given to the city of Toulouse in 1965.
After presentations at the MET in New York in 1973, in Japan in 2013 and in Sydney in 2018, this is the first time that this work, often referred to as a medieval Mona Lisa, has traveled to France since its acquisition in 1882. A will of the museum de Cluny who wants it to remain visible, its director, Séverine Lepage, also records “the solidarity between museums (…) at the end of this unprecedented crisis”. In order to promote this exceptional work as much as possible, the Abattoirs have planned a dedicated program to highlight the influence of the Middle Ages on contemporary art.