In The Lady with the Unicorn tapestry series created in the 1480s CE, it is generally accepted that the first five tapestries represent the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. The interpretation of the sixth tapestry, "À Mon Seul Désir," remains uncertain. I propose that the French words, "à mon seul désir," translate to "with my unique desire," meaning that people are the only species that covet material objects even as we share the five senses with animals.
In the first five tapestries, one or more of the animals are shown utilizing the represented sense along with the women. However, in the final tapestry, only the two women are engaged in handling the golden necklace, while some of the animals seem to watch from afar. The blue tent in the last tapestry also serves to separate the human figures from the natural world, which includes the unicorn with its mythical qualities. The tent frames the lady handling her necklace with a strip of cloth and her maid and is not present in any of the previous tapestries.
The interpretation of people alone valuing material objects ties the individual representations of the six tapestries together and allows them to flow towards the realization that, while people may live alongside the natural and mythical worlds (which, in medieval times, were likely considered the same), they remain separate and not completely in either due to their unique desires.
1) Cavallo, Adolfo Salvatore. The Unicorn Tapestries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998. pp.99-100. Print.
I am always intrigued by the way history and culture influence our interactions and perceptions, and I love exploring this influence through art. I am also inspired by other works of art: books, poetry, music, painting, sculpture, etc. Ekphrasis often refers to writing that comments on another art form. More broadly though, it encompasses any medium of art that relates to another even if by just conveying the spirit of a work in a different form. Ekphrasis can further explore a piece or offer a new perspective enriching our view or experience.
This painting captures a slice of life and depicts part of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. The accompanying poem, Hunting Horn, alludes to the origin of the horn.
Poem, "True Ghost", included in 13 Day's of Halloween 2018 to be published by Local Gems Press, NY.
Americana, Now and Then exhibit with artists, Anne Raskopf and John Hallett, at the Oconomowoc Arts Center.
Artwork included in the 52nd Annual Art Purchase Award Contest at the Waukesha County Courthouse, WI. Painting included in the Museum of Wisconsin Art's Members' Showin West Bend, WI.
I enjoy landscapes and Plein Air painting as well for their preservation of the light and feeling evoked by a moment in time. They tell their own stories too.
Teal silver or indigo iron.
Reflected in blue and bronze.
This video shows a presentation given at the 2011 PAAC One Vision Project ekphrastic art event. I am enchanted by whale song, and here, it adds another dimension to the story. Click here for the video.
Studies of Light and Form exhibit with artists, Anne Raskopf and John Hallett, at the Oconomowoc Arts Center Oct. 3rd - Nov. 25th. Artist Reception Oct. 12th from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. Paintings included in the Waukesha County Courthouse Purchase Award exhibit through Oct. 29th. Paintings included in the Pewaukee Area Arts Council's Collective Imagination exhibit at Shorehaven's Founder's Gallery in Oconomowoc Oct. 1st - Nov. 30th.
Red Unicorn Tapestry, Oil, 20" x 24"
How is yesterday remembered?
A thought written down,
An image captured,
A stanza replayed.
A Rosetta scroll for memory.
"Once upon a time, when people still believed in magic, they gave their art to the ages. Later ages study those arts to see back in time as if by magic."
- Translation of Phoenician script
from Rosetta Scroll, oil painting
Certain arts endure.
Left; behind or because?
A record, a story, a message?
So then ancient yesterdays are interpreted for remembrance.
Our way to "know" a people.
Our history or theirs?
By Heidi C. Hallett
Welcome and thanks for visiting.
To see more of my work, please browse my Art Portfolio and Poetry pages.
Poem, "Taawa (Native American, Hopi) = Sun," included in Poets to Come, A Poetry Anthology in Celebration of Walt Whitman's Bicentennial 2019. Paintings included in Wisconsin Visual Artists' A New Day exhibit at the Redline Gallery in Milwaukee, WRAP Exhibit in Oconomowoc, Museum of Wisconsin Art Members' Show in West Bend, WI.
Cadence and Moons, chapbook contest 2nd place winner, to be published by Local Gems Press, NY.
Copyright 2013. Heidi Hallett. All Rights Reserved.