Anonymous: The Unicorn Tapestries - The Unicorn at the Fountain (1495-1505)

(Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA)

A tapestry made by an unknown (probably Flemish) artist. This tapestry comes from a set of 7 which show a group of noblemen and hunters in pursuit of a unicorn. This is the second one - the hunters have found a unicorn. The unicorn kneels before a stream of water which comes from a tall white fountain. The unicorn touches the water with its horn to purify it (according to the legend the horn a of unicorn could make poison harmless). A pair of pheasants and goldfinches are sitting on the edge of the fountain while rabbits, lions and deer are sitting in the garden which has sage, pot marigolds, and orange - herbals which are described as antidotes to poisoning. The twelve hunters in the back of the scene discuss the discovery of their quarry. At the four corners and in the center is an A and reversed E - this is probably a reference to the person who commissioned the set. The name of Anne of Brittany has been suggested. In that case it could be that this set was made to celebrate her marriage to king Louis XII France in 1491. Tapestry from 1495-1505.