St. Jacques - Saint-Gatien Cathedral - Tours
The tapestries of The Hunt offers three kinds of travels :
..."Grace God" offers to the pilgrim a bath of tears of repentance fall from an eye in a tub ...
Miniature extracted from The Pilgrimage of human life of William of Digulleville, Paris, 1393 - BNF
That is why the pilgrim of The Hunt carries a sword.
The pilgrim arrives at the confluence of two rivers.
Two "maleficent" beings block their passage and directly threat them : the dog black-tailed at the confluence and the hunter on the wooden bridge.
danger for the unicorn, psychological risk for the pilgrim who may be tempted
The Pilgrim has met the three kinds of men : homo bestialis, spiritualis et deiformis.
has followed the precepts that St. Bonaventure states in The Triple Way, De
triplici Via - composed after 1259 : "It is therefore necessary
to reach peace, truth and charity, to rise such as by three degrees as triple
The purgative way, which consists in the removal of sin,
The illuminative way which consists in the imitation of Christ,
The unitive way which consists in the reception of the Spouse. [...]
Each way has its degrees by which, starting from below we reach the top. "
The artist, while its composition, according to the Devotio moderna, had to "meditate", that is to say "walk in the footsteps of Christ and imitate him" ; well, he had to "conform his life to that of Christ "by engaging" himself as a pilgrim of God on this earth. "
The Hunt emphasizes " the ascetic experience in the form of spiritual autobiography depicting the wanderings, the disappointments and profits of the pilgrimage on earth."
The Hunt seems to prefigure the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola and his double pilgrimage.
The pilgrim has the stick (a spear), and walks close to us, on the other side of the river. He seems stranger to the scenes of the Passion represented on the other side. He raises his head towards the city in front of him where the the Light, Wisdom, other Initiates are waiting for him.
This pilgrimage seems to take the "dry way" of a terrestrial path and the "wet way" of a river lined. It is placed at the beginning under the sign of the shell of St. Jacques de Compostela that touches the apostle in the second tapestry.
pilgrim does not seem to cross the river because it is certainly the "River
of Death". The hunt for the beast, the Unicorn (The Passion) which
takes place on the other side evokes that very well. And the only possible way,
the bridge, is occupied by Lucifer !
Our pilgrim who travels off the ways where are the other characters of the tapestries
like one of those alchemists Jung speaks of :
Instead of following the Church, the alchemists preferred the pursuit of knowledge
to the truth that is found through faith." (Carl Gustav Jung, Psychology
and Alchemy, p. 52)
This pilgrimage, from a tapestry to another tapestry, recalls the "celestial
pilgrimage" of Plato and the race of heroes (like Jason and the Argonauts)
and this pattern will be repeated in alchemy.
We should be explored in detail if the pilgrimage does not take place through the seven planetary spheres (there are seven tapestries) : The Hunt would find then what Jung calls "an exemplary value regarding the progress and the symbolism of the process of individuation" (p.278, tome 1)
This pilgrim could be a "descendant" of Perceval.
In French, Perceval is the man who "pierces" the "val" (the valley), that is to say who discoveres the hidden castle of the Fisher King and pierces the secret of his own history in the same time he discoveres the procession of the Grail.
Perceval is the man who crosses the valley and the river (pierces - val), who goes on the other side (the hero of alchemy), who crosses the bridge to join the King and Queen together (symbols of self-control , autonomy, knowledge of the total being ).
To reach the truth of the afterlife, mercury alchemical or philosopher's stone, the carbuncle which was under the horn of the unicorn.
He wears three different suits (perhaps a fourth in the incomplete tapestry) to mark that he is a new man after each step, walking along the water, element of physical and spiritual regeneration.
The Greeks had surrounded the Earth by a river-ocean named Okeanos, son of Heaven and Earth. Okeanos and his sister-wife Thetis had created, as a primordial couple, all the gods and all living beings. The Garden of Eden was also crossed by a river.
Is the Pilgrim Jean Perréal ?
After his return from Italy in late 1499, he becomes a servant of Queen Anne of Brittany, who takes him under his protection. We believe that from this date, the Queen will reveal him to himself and show him the way to becom an exceptional artist that Howard and I want to 'resuscitate'.
In the tapestry 2 (The Fountain) : no dog has the letters' A 'and '3' for 'AnnE' ; the pilgrim is not yet walking.
In the tapestry 3 (The crossing of the river) : the
letters' A 'and '3' appear on some collars.
In Tapestry 4 (The unicorn defends itself) : the artist walks entirely in his inner quest, not looking at the events that take place on the other side of the river and to which he does not participate.
In the tapestry 5 (incomplete) : we will never know where was our pilgrim, but no doubt about his presence.
In the tapestry 6 (Death of the Unicorn) : the artist seems to come to the end of his inner quest, his Great Work, in any case his pictorial work. He is faced with the king and queen together.
Signs of the fingers for recognition between initiates
The artist is also the dog that the dolphin thanks and salutes. Branches of laurel and oak 'crown' from below the artist as a sign of consecration, of heroic triumph and striking force.
Double royal symbolism to celebrae the "Red Work" , the final stage, the regeneration expressed in the following tapestry where the unicorn is reborn in its enclosure, topped with pomegranate and its pomegranates bearing crowns.
If we compare the faces, can we say that the pilgrim has grown older ?
the two dogs that accompany the pilgrim :
in the tapestry 6 :
The Pilgrim became a 'real' man :
We only have three representations of the man we call "the pilgrim".
Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the profane,1965
"The initiation usually involves a triple revelation : that of the sacred, that of death and that of sexuality."
The Hunt gives us al l: Genesis, Christ's Passion and sexuality in the marriage of the queen and the king and in the 'rediscovered' virility of the dog.
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