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Moretto da Brescia
Saint Justina with the Unicorn, Venerated by a Patron
Sainte Justine à la licorne, Sainte Justine et un dévot
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
an devotional image
she is usually depicted as a young woman in a long dress and cloak, and carrying a palm branch
Moretto further emphasizes her virginity with the presence of a unicorn
A Lady in Her Bath
Dame au bain
National Gallery of Art, Washington
the classic portrayal of a Royal mistress in her official role ...
cool, beautiful, aloof, bejewelled even in her bath,
accompanied by the strappings of her state:
a noble child in the arms of its leering, accomplice-nurse,
the sly Love-child stealing the fruits,
a flower of passion in her hand
a tapestry with a heraldic composition with a unicorn and a tree on a pink background
Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn, Lady with unicorn
Portrait d'une jeune femme avec la licorne, La Dame à la licorne
Galleria Borghese, Rome
the unicorn, traditionally a symbol of chastity in medieval romance
The Lady and the Unicorn
Dame à la licorne
Stanza di Paolo III, Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome
possibly Giulia Farnese
the mistress to Pope Alexander VI, and the sister of Pope Paul III.
was known as Giulia la bella (Julia the beautiful)
Jacopo Tintoretto, Le Tintoret
Creation of the Animals
La Création des animaux
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
in a blaze of golden light, which does not entirely escape the darkness still partly enveloping the newly
created earth God the Father is portrayed as if suspended in mid-air in the act of creation
the birds shoot across the sky and the fishes dart through the water like arrows from his hand,
the animals rush forward from behind him
even a unicorn among them ...
Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jan Brueghel l'Ancien
Landscape of Paradise and the Loading of the Animals in Noah’s Ark
Paysage de paradis et chargement des animaux dans l'arche de Noé
an idyllic landscape
somewhat whimsically depicted animals
Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach l'Ancien
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
the biblical stories of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3) in a number of simultaneous scenes ...
Jehovah imposing the prohibition on Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge
creation of Adam, creation of Eve, the fall of man, the discovery of the sin and the expulsion from paradise
the Garden of Eden in the form of an animal park, where wild, domestic and fabulous animals coexist
The Garden of Earthly Delights
Le Jardin des délices
Museo del Prado, Madrid
one of the most mysterious paintings in Western art history
swarms of living creatures, real animals, some exotic in Europe, and fabulous species:
birds; swan, rabbit; elephant and giraffe; toad and owl; cock and snake;
three-headed lizard reminiscent of Lerna’s hydra
unicorn symbol of virginity, chastity, purity
the triumph of Battista ...
sitting on her cart pulled by unicorns, which symbolize chastity and purity
Piero della Francesca
The double portrait of the Dukes of Urbino, The Dukes of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and Battista
Double Portrait des ducs d'Urbino, Les ducs d'Urbino Federico da Montefeltro et Battista Sforza
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
a diptych, representing
on the obverse, face to face, Federico III de Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, and his second wife,
Duchess Battista Sforza
on the overleaf, their arrival in the city accompanied by angels, in two triumphant chariots
white horses pull Federico's triumphal car and Battista's is pulled by unicorns, which symbolize chastity
Domenichino, Le Dominiquin
Virgin and Unicorn, A Virgin with a Unicorn
Jeune fille et licorne, Jeune fille vierge et licorne
Palazzo Farnese, Rome
the shyness of two sensitive creatures
Musée National Gustave-Moreau, Paris
Renaissance inspiration ...
influenced by the tapestry of the Lady and the Unicorn from the Cluny Museum,
Moreau uses the figures of Pegasus and Mercury from Mantegna's painting, Parnassus
Musée National Gustave-Moreau, Paris
the dominant feeling of mystery ...
one of the most fascinating and the most enigmatic works that the master of Symbolism has bequeathed us
a strange place
a gathering of princessesa lily, the symbol of purity
a bejewelled sharp sword
unicorns, legendary creatures
The Unicorn in Western painting
La licorne dans la peinture occidentale
images and text credit www.
Music The Piano Guys Shawn Mendes In My Blood. Swan
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In Europe the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn, cloven hooves,
and sometimes a goat's beard.
In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a
symbol of purity and grace, which could be captured only by a virgin.
In the encyclopedias, its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness.
In medieval and Renaissance times, the tusk of the narwhal was sometimes sold as unicorn horn.
During the Renaissance, however, scepticism grew concerning the miraculous properties of unicorn horns.
In the 16th Century, the surgeon Ambroise Paré, court physician to four French kings, rubbished the idea that a
unicorn’s horn had any medicinal effect.
Unicorns still occasionally popped up in art at the start of the 17th Century, but, as belief in the existence of this
mythical beast waned, so the golden age of the unicorn came to an end.
Things changed, though, in the final decades of the 19th Century, with the rediscovery of The Lady and the
Unicorn tapestries, which inspired artists such as the French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau.
In 1887, five years after the tapestries had been acquired by the Cluny Museum, Moreau completed his sensuous
canvas The Unicorns.