I’m not sure how I found this image, but it took my breath away. When I read the story behind the image, I quite honestly fell in love.
The image is of a Renaissance tapestry called ‘The Unicorn in Captivity’. Here’s a description of it (courtesy of The Met Museum)
“The seven individual hangings known as “The Unicorn Tapestries,” are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn.
“The Unicorn in Captivity” may have been created as a single image rather than part of a series. In this instance, the unicorn probably represents the beloved tamed. He is tethered to a tree and constrained by a fence, but the chain is not secure and the fence is low enough to leap over: The unicorn could escape if he wished. Clearly, however, his confinement is a happy one, to which the ripe, seed-laden pomegranates in the tree–a medieval symbol of fertility and marriage–testify. The red stains on his flank do not appear to be blood, as there are no visible wounds like those in the hunting series; rather, they represent juice dripping from bursting pomegranates above. Many of the other plants represented here, such as wild orchid, bistort, and thistle, echo this theme of marriage and procreation: they were acclaimed in the Middle Ages as fertility aids for both men and women. Even the little frog, nestled among the violets at the lower right, was cited by medieval writers for its noisy mating”.
After tapestry is also filled with religious symbolism (which I adore). Historically, the unicorn has been used to represent Christ (and purity). It is believed that the only person who can capture the unicorn is a virgin (Mary). The last tapestry in the series shows the unicorn resurrected, after being hunted and killed. It’s a magical image.
Given that the tapestry was made in 1500, I really wanted the dresser to have the old, worn, tarnished feel. The main body is a deep blue/green, with many layers of glazes to achieve an authentic patina. It has lots of texture. My pride myself on making pieces look authentically worn; therefore, I allow nicks and dings to show the tale of time. If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that has been ‘upcycled’ this may not be the piece for you. If you’re looking for an authentically worn piece, I think you’ve found it.
It’s a beautiful piece, with a fabulous image.
Local delivery from Portland, Oregon is available. Please email me with zip code, if requiring shipping. I will be happy to find a reasonable shipping rate for you.
Diane, aka The Paint Factory
Diane, your work is incredible. Do you have videos on how you create your masterpieces? I would love to have access to them. I would come to your classes, if you run them, but I live in Sydney. warm regards and congratulations on your enormous talent, Robyn
That’s so sweet – thank you! At the moment, I only have one tutorial on Etsy that focuses on blending and working with glazes. I haven’t done any master classes yet. I’m doing my first teaching class in France next month; hopefully the experience will tell me that I need to be teaching. My goal, ultimately, would be to travel and teach. We’ll see! Thanks, Diane