Young Woman with Unicorn

Young Woman with Unicorn by Raphael, 1506

Raphael’s paintings don’t normally strike me as funny, but this one is! It’s especially amusing (and interesting) to know that underneath the unicorn is a painting of a dog, which is supposed to represent marital fidelity. You can even see the dog’s ears in the sleeve of the dress. I wonder what the mystery is behind this painting. It’d be nice to know everything, but at the same time, I like not knowing. I like the tension between the girl’s expression and the expression on the unicorn’s face. (Is it laughing?) I really like the way she’s holding it, as if to keep it close and protected, away from whomever might be out there behind the artist. I’d enjoy a copy of this on my wall, just as a reminder that art can be both beautiful and fun.

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