Lady and the Unicorn: Mona Lisa of the middle ages weaves a new spell

By Brigid Delaney

The tapestries, on display at the Art Gallery of NSW, have appeared in everything from the writings of George Sand to poet Rainer Maria Rilke

For a mythical creature that is supposedly very shy, the unicorn sure is getting around. The white horse with a long horn and Bambi eyes is popping up everywhere from decal on children's backpacks to T-shirts, key rings, flags, toys and tattoos, often accompanied by a little rainbow. The unicorn aesthetic has dominated music videos for the last few years. It's been borrowed for queer raves and even as a descriptor for (usually) women who are the third party joining a couple in bed. These creatures – the mythical animals, that is – are nothing if not versatile: they've even been used in art as stand-ins for Jesus Christ.

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