Thursday, July 9, 2015

Recommended - Musee de Moyen Age (Cluny)

Last week, I finally made it out to the Cluny Museum, or the Museum of the Middle Ages. Since I
loved studying that period of history and loved the artwork of that time, I had high hopes for this experience. I was not disappointed. I can't believe I waited this long to go to the Cluny. In my book, it's a much better museum to visit than something huge like the Louvre. It's a manageable size and isn't super crowded, which is the best of both worlds to me. Here's a shot of the entrance to the museum which isn't far from the metro stop at all - line 10, station Cluny/La Sorbonne. It's closed on Tueesdays and has a 9 euro entrance fee which includes an audio guide. (Y'all know how much I love an audioguide - nerds unite!)

Selfie in the stairwell of the museum, just because.

The most famous 'piece' in the museum is the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry. It's actually not a single tapestry but a collection of six. The first five tapestries each concentrate on one of the five senses; the last tapestry focuses on either the heart or free will or intellect depending on your interpretation. If you've never seen them, I advise looking them up online. You know my philosophy about photographing art exhibits, so I only included a portion of the sixth tapestry as a point of reference here. The needlework is gorgeous and something I long to touch - of course that's not allowed. Still, I love looking at tapestries!

A few more pics of the exterior of the building from different angles. Notice there was a group of schoolchildren visiting the museum; how amazing it must be to go on field trips when you live in Paris!

The collection of stained glass that this museum has is breathtaking. There are entire rooms devoted only to stained glass pieces that have been installed in the wall and backlit, so you can see them as if sunshine were actually streaming through the panes. This particular room told the story of Saint Sebastian, I think. (Don't hold me to that; I forgot to take notes.)

Here are some examples of statuary that were discovered in the 1800s. Originally, these statues were part of the exterior decorations on Notre Dame Cathedral and represented the kings of Judea. The Cluny has more than a dozen of these statuaries that date back to around the year 1000.

The site of the Cluny museum is on the ancient Roman ruins of Lutecia - or what the Romans called Paris when it was their city. This room is the frigidarium - basically, it was a cold room  in the baths that people visited after exercising and bathing in hot water. It's such a tall room with such thick stone and so deeply underground that it was nice and chilly on this 100 degree day in Paris.

Another room held a series of relics and royal and religious artifacts made out of different materials - ceramics, metalwork, gilding, cloissoine (sp?), enamelware, etc. The lighting wasn't great for pictures, but it was room after room of eye candy from more than 500 years ago.

The architecture of the building itself is beyond gorgeous in places - loved this chapel ceiling.

Check out the detail work around the windows and cornices.

These little signs all around Paris make me incredibly happy. I don't speak French much, but I can read a little more. These signs have been good practice for me.

An exterior shot of some ongoing excavations of the ancient Roman ruins surrounding the medieval building that houses the Cluny.

Thought y'all might like to see a poster nearby that adverises the Cluny's sculpture exhibit. Notice the dates; we're the only country I know of that begins with the month. Every European country I know of begins with the date then the month then the year. Just a little fyi for you...

Finishing up with another exterior shot...

I didn't include any photos of the gorgeous carved alterpieces or the crucifixes or the triptychs or the other tapesstries or the shields and armor or the weaponry or the oil paintings or the...well, you get the idea. I spent about three hours at the Cluny and felt like I got to take a look at everything as I listened to the audioguide. I'd encourage you to visit this museum if you're ever in Paris. If you like the medieval era like I do, then you won't be disappointed.

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