The Lady and the Unicorn Author:Tracy Chevalier Bewitching art experts and enthusiasts alike for centuries, the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries hang today in the Cluny Museum in Paris. In each, an elegant lady and a unicorn stand or sit on an island of grass surrounded by a rich background of animals and flowers. Little is known about them except that they were woven toward the end of the... more » fifteenth century and bear the coat of arms of a wealthy family from Lyons. Tracy Chevalier takes readers back to the tapestries creation, giving life to the men who designed and made them, as well as the wives, daughters, and servants who exercised subtle (and not so subtle) influences over their men. Like the many different strands of wool and silk that were woven together into one cloth, the lives and fates of these people entwine in complex patterns, crisscrossing as they seek desires sensual and spiritual, temporal and eternal. An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Tracy Chevaliers The Lady and the Unicorn weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.« less
I too thought this was a fast historical fiction read, but I also found it to be a bit sneaky. I did not guess at the surprise that awaits, but did guess at another part of the ending. It's also interesting to read about the life of a family of weavers... you just see these tapestries in museums now, but to read a possible way that they lived and the daily struggles they endured to complete these works... it gives a whole new layer to the works of art to me.
an interesting novel of history and imagination involving the family jean le viste of paris 1490 and a famous art world's masterpiece, the lady and the unicorn tapestry. tracy chevalier weaves a good novel of the lives, loves and work of the residents of 1430 paris. as well as the history of the creation of work of art tapestry.
I didn't like it as much as Girl with a Pearl Earring, but most people have preferred it the other way around. It was interesting to me to learn about how the weaving was done, but wasn't as attached to the main characters, maybe from the shifting POV. It was interesting though, how the characters weren't all 'good' and wholesome, kept it interesting to see them (and their flaws) develop over time. I found it a pretty quick read.
I really enjoyed this novel. I read it after Girl with A Pearl Earring and I liked both novels. I found this one to be somewhat lighthearted and did explain some of the technicalities of taspersty weaving. I thought the characters to be well developed and interesting. If you enjoy historical fiction this one is worth reading.
I love Tracy Chevalier and this is a good one. Fast paced, almost two stories in one. Based on a famous tapestry, this story takes you through Europe with a philandering artisan. Touching story of the life of a blind weaver. Full of descriptions that bring the book to life.
A fictionalized story of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. Our 'hero' is not someone you would want your daughter to meet, I'll leave it at that. Otherwise a good look at life in the 1490's of France, and Brussels. Art historians should enjoy this especially.
This book,like,"Girl With a Pearl Earring" has a similar fairy-tale quality. If the story says it is so, you must believe it is.The difference between this and a real fairy tale is that a real fairy tale is not rife with bawdy sex while Ms Chevalier's books are.
The book traces the production of a well known art piece and inserts characters and events of the true era, putting it all together as it may have happened.
If the review were condensed to a one word synopsis, it would be "Charming." I would recommend it to anyone mature enough not to be swayed by the sexual bawdiness so as to be confused about the role sex plays in history. It is written for females, but the sexual references make it sound as though it were written and thought out by a male...either that or I should go back and research the role of sexuality in past historical events.
This book captures the feel of 15th century France and draws the reader into the world of art as it was practiced then, via nobles commissioning works less because of appreciation and more for the boost in status. It tells the story of a famous series of tapestries from their commission, design and execution by a weaver and his family in Belgium. Complete details of their provenance have not survived to our day but Tracy Chevalier imagines quite believably how these magnificent tapestries may have come to be.
Strong historical story. Each chapter in the "voice" of a different character. Interesting to learn about how paintings became tapestries, the rules governing weaving, and the symbols used. Also good social and family sub-plots.