Unicorns and Heroes: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Tapestries at The Met Cloisters

Event Type Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture, Educational Lectures, Free Programs, Late Night Thursday, Lectures, Patio Night at The FIA
Date calendar  Thursday, April 27, 2023
Time clock  6:00pm - 7:00pm (1h)
Location FIA Theater

This talk will explore the history of two unique sets of tapestries on view at The Met Cloisters, The Hunt for the Unicorn and the Heroes Tapestries. 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 gold threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn. The Heroes Tapestries, representing the Hebrew heroes (Joshua and David), the Christian hero (King Arthur), and the pagan heroes (Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar), are thought to have been made around 1400. Once part of a larger ensemble featuring Nine Heroes, these remarkable tapestries are among the earliest large-scale tapestries to survive from a moment when these ensembles were part of princely collections. The talk will explore how these works were made, their meaning, and the conservation work essential to their long-term preservation. The lecture will also highlight the role of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in creating The Met Cloisters and consider his involvement in the acquisition of these remarkable works of art. Dr. C. Griffith Mann is the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Cloisters. Dr. Mann received his B.A. in art history and history from Williams College, and his Ph.D. in medieval art from The Johns Hopkins University. A specialist in the arts of late medieval Italy, he has published on civic patronage, painting, and devotion in Tuscany.

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