Sketching at the Musée de Cluny

The Musée de Cluny houses a collection of medieval arts and crafts. The Hôtel de Cluny it self is an interesting building as it is an example of French domestic medieval architecture. You enter the museum through a cobblestone courtyard which immediately triggered my imagination.

Cluny Museum drawingIt has a particularly interesting collection of sculptures some of which relate to Notre-Dame. One series holds interesting history as originally they had decorated the cathedral but were vandalised by revolutionaries in 1793. After being cast aside they were purchased by a builder and he re-cycled them using them to shore up the foundations of a private mansion he was building. They were rediscovered in 1977 enabling historians to understand a lot more about sculpture of the period.

These had such an interesting history I decided to draw one of them. The piece I chose is a sort of triangular formation which proved quite a challenge! Click on the image above and you can see a larger version. This also fills EDM drawing challenge 38 “Draw at a Museum”

This is what the page spread looked like when I wrote in it later that evening.

Cluny Museum page spread I included our 2 entry tickets which illustrate items in the museum and map given to visitors.

Cluny Museum page spread

Cluny Museum page spread The Musée de Cluny owns a famous series of tapestries called The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. They are highly acclaimed and many people visit just to see these. They are however undergoing cleaning and restoration before travelling to Japan to be exhibited there. I was aware of this as the information is on their website, so was not disappointed.

There is a lot to see for a ‘small’ museum such as 12th- and 13th-century crosses, some fantastic illuminated manuscripts, and loads of carvings.

A highlight for me was the fan-vaulted medieval chapel and downstairs are the ruins of Roman baths. It was a great afternoon and since it is a ‘small’ museum there were no lines and no crowds.

Here a snap taken by Jerry of me drawing.


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A visit to Notre Dame

Every morning we can hear the bells of Notre Dame ring out. Still jet lagged we took a stroll through the district and investigate this historic building. As we approached Notre Dame noticing the line for the tower tour was short Jerry decided he would do the climb as he has always wanted to photograph the gargoyles. I decided to explore the interior of the building. So sketchbook in hand I headed off to see what was to be seen inside while Jerry camera in hand climbed the building to see what was to be seen on the outside.

If you sketch, it is easy to be overwhelmed as the cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture for a reason! I walked around then decided to tackle just a small section. I had about an hour and wanted to keep the goal to do some drawing here realistic.

travel journal sketch Notre DameThere was a service in progress and I sat in front of a pillar and quietly sketched. I really enjoyed this as I got to sit and quietly observe not only the cathedral but how the place was used by both worshipers and tourists. To be honest it is the sort of place I could return to every day for month and barely sketched any of the building at all.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the sketch.