Search for the Unicorn

The exhibition is made possible by the Michel David-Weill Fund and the Quinque Foundation.

Exhibition objects

Featured Media

Sunday at the Met: Major Additions to The Cloisters Collection

Program information

Peter Barnet, the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, discusses major recent acquisitions to the collections at The Cloisters. Three major new works are now on display thanks to the 1950s endowment provided by John D. Rockefeller Jr. The endowment has allowed the museum to collect work actively and to expand the collection rapidly.

Recorded May 19, 2013

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Search for the Unicorn: An Exhibition in Honor of The Cloisters' 75th Anniversary.

Search for the Unicorn

An Exhibition in Honor of The Cloisters' 75th Anniversary

May 15, 2013–August 18, 2013

Given by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in time for the opening of The Cloisters in 1938, the Unicorn Tapestries are its best-known masterpieces; yet, seventy-five years later, their history and meaning remain elusive. They have been seen both as complicated metaphors for Christ and as emblems of matrimony, and they are beloved as quaint indications of medieval notions about the natural world. This exhibition of some forty works of art drawn from the collections of the Metropolitan, sister institutions, and private collections invites audiences to see the Unicorn Tapestries anew, as the finest expression of a subject widely treated across cultures, and in both European art and science, from the Middle Ages, through the Renaissance.