Sunday, 24 April 2016
We collected by far the most images at the Cluny. Or, many call it the Cluny, but the name is actually Musée National du Moyen Âge—Thermes et hôtel de Cluny. Cluny was a Benedictine abbey 225mi SSE of Paris, near Mâcon, and this was their “townhouse” in Paris (begun in the 1300s and rebuilt around 1500). It was built atop Roman baths, hence the second part of of the name…. The first part refers to the Middle Ages, which is the temporal focus of the collection. The nearest subway station honors the arts with tile versions of artists signatures on the ceiling.
Euros are being spent on revamping parts of the complex, and the entrance currently is through a narrow portal into a non-symmetrical quadrilateral courtyard (with a security tent…open your handbag, ma’am, please (only in French)).
Many stone walls of the abbey are…very clean, no stucco, no paint. Stairwells and so on have been added to make the buildings into a museum.
We didn’t make it into the Sainte-Chapelle (near Notre-Dame), but we did get to see about two dozen small window panels from it…very close up. Love the detail on this bull and man’s face.
Also on this murderous knight and his non-plussed horse.
This is detail from a capital from the church in the abbey complex of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris), showing Daniel tangling with the lion. This abbey was founded in the 500s, and this stonework dates to 1030–1040. Through the Middle Ages, the abbey owned quite a chunk of land on the West Bank.
The Cluny collection may be best known for the La Dame à la licorne/the lady and the unicorn tapestries. There are six, with five obviously pertaining to the senses—smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight. The sixth has the words À mon seul désir…what the soul desires, so is a bit enigmatic—maybe love, joie de vivre, something along those lines. This is a detail from the sight one, with the lady holding a mirror for the unicorn to see its reflection. The tapestries are huge.
Stained glass detail (I/we did not record the source).
1490–1493 Book of Hours devotional by Antoine Vérard, who was first to combine printed black text with hand-drafted colored “capital” letters, thereby combining the best of the new printing process with the artistic elegance of the old by-hand-only methods.
This is a detail of a reliquary of St Anne, and she is holding a mini-reliquary. That does make the point, doesn’t it?
The chapel of the Cluny monastery complex is stripped of its decorations and has only a few museum pieces in it. The emptiness and bare walls are striking. Footsteps echo loudly.
From an upper level I could see into the garden. We were only able to enter a small portion that did not include this part.
From the street, here is Cluny ruins atop thermae ruins (I think).
Somehow we made it into another church, the Église Saint-Séverin. Séverin apparently was a hermit in Paris’s early Christian times. Behind the altar (and behind me for this photo) are six large stained glass windows dating to 1970, with modernist (not realist) color panels that we both liked.
And one more church…near where we’re staying…the Église Saint-Louis-d’Antin. It began as a Capuchin establishment about 1775. Most of the rest of the complex became a lycée in 1883.
What a Sunday.