Francie Stoutamire Photography | Paris - The Cluny Museum
49 photos

Opened by the State in 1844, the Cluny Museum is an excellent way to get away from the crowds. In the heart of the Latin Quarter, the remains of a Roman bath—one of the finest surviving examples of Roman architecture in the city—are joined to a Gothic Abbey. This historically hybrid building is worth a visit for the architecture alone. But it also houses a stunning collection of art from a 1,000-year period of medieval history.
Very little is known about the origins of the original tapestry set of the Lady and the Unicorn series which were woven with wool and silk in Flanders around 1500. Many different interpretations have been suggested over the years but no one can agree on their meaning. Each tapestry portrays a unicorn interacting with a woman. In medieval times, a unicorn was often seen as a representation of Christ, with the horn being a symbol of the unity between Christ and God. In each of the six tapestries in the series, unicorns are used to aid in the representation of the human senses sight, smell, touch, sound, taste and love.

Courtyard of the Cluny Museum.

Courtyard of the Cluny Museum.

Architectual detail in the courtyard of the Cluny Museum.

Architectual detail in the courtyard of the Cluny Museum.

The entrance to the Cluny Museum.

The entrance to the Cluny Museum.

The sundial in the courtyard of the museum, which dates back to 1674, with its inscription 'Rien sans nous' ('Nothing without us') 'us' being the sun and Louis XIV, le Roi Soleil (the Sun King).

The sundial in the courtyard of the museum, which dates back to 1674, with its inscription 'Rien sans nous' ('Nothing without us') 'us' being the sun and Louis XIV, le Roi Soleil (the Sun King).

Well head near the sundial in the courtyard of the Cluny Museum.

Well head near the sundial in the courtyard of the Cluny Museum.

Tapestry "Liberal arts - mathematics" woven in Flanders in the 16th century.

Tapestry "Liberal arts - mathematics" woven in Flanders in the 16th century.

Altarpiece of the Passion, 16th century.

Altarpiece of the Passion, 16th century.

15th century metallic luster faience plate made in France.

15th century metallic luster faience plate made in France.

L>R St John, St James, St Paul and St Peter against grisaille; from a chateau chapel probably Rouen, c.1300.

L>R St John, St James, St Paul and St Peter against grisaille; from a chateau chapel probably Rouen, c.1300.

Window shutters from the southern Netherlands 15th century. Below is a frieze with the inscription Si qua fata sinant (if the fates allow) from Lausanne, Switzerland (early 16th century).

Window shutters from the southern Netherlands 15th century.  Below is a frieze with the inscription Si qua fata sinant (if the fates allow) from Lausanne, Switzerland (early 16th century).

Doorway from Saint Denis ca. 1245-1255. Somewhat fuzzy (contrast was very difficult). Jim on the right.

Doorway from Saint Denis ca. 1245-1255.  Somewhat fuzzy (contrast was very difficult). Jim on the right.

Seven of the 21 stone heads of the kings of Judah (1220-1230) from the front of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Seven of the 21 stone heads of the kings of Judah (1220-1230) from the front of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Statue of Adam dating to ca. 1260. It has traces of polychrome painting from the facade of the south transept at Saint Denis.

Statue of Adam dating to ca. 1260.  It has traces of polychrome painting from the facade of the south transept at Saint Denis.

Basin of a cloister fountain (top is a bowl that doesn't show in this image) from Languedoc - last quarter of the 12th century.

Basin of a cloister fountain (top is a bowl that doesn't show in this image) from Languedoc - last quarter of the 12th century.

Reliquary box dating to ca. 1200 from Cologne carved with images of prophets and saints.

Reliquary box dating to ca. 1200 from Cologne carved with images of prophets and saints.

Capitals from the nave of the abbey church of Saint Germain de Pres showing for example Christ between angels & other characters, apostles, Daniel in the lion's den, fighting men & lions, etc.

Capitals from the nave of the abbey church of Saint Germain de Pres showing for example Christ between angels & other characters, apostles, Daniel in the lion's den, fighting men & lions, etc.

Capitals from the nave of the abbey church of Saint Germain de Pres showing for example Christ between angels & other characters, apostles, Daniel in the lion's den, fighting men & lions, etc.

Capitals from the nave of the abbey church of Saint Germain de Pres showing for example Christ between angels & other characters, apostles, Daniel in the lion's den, fighting men & lions, etc.

Capitals from the nave of the abbey church of Saint Germain de Pres showing for example Christ between angels & other characters, apostles, Daniel in the lion's den, fighting men & lions, etc.

Capitals from the nave of the abbey church of Saint Germain de Pres showing for example Christ between angels & other characters, apostles, Daniel in the lion's den, fighting men & lions, etc.

Queen from a chess set showing scenes from the childhood of Christ and the life of Saint Remi (?) from Reims (?); made of elephant ivory in the last quarter of the 11th century.

Queen from a chess set showing scenes from the childhood of Christ and the life of Saint Remi (?) from Reims (?); made of elephant ivory in the last quarter of the 11th century.

The tapestry shows the Liberation of St. Peter (from Tournai, Belgium/Flanders), 1460; part of a set commissioned for the Cathedral of Beauvais, Paris. The chest is oak and dates to ca. 1300.

The tapestry shows the Liberation of St. Peter (from Tournai, Belgium/Flanders), 1460; part of a set commissioned for the Cathedral of Beauvais, Paris.  The chest is oak and dates to ca. 1300.