The Cloisters Met-NYC

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I have been waiting to visit the Cloisters for a few years. Covid derailed my trip last year and I made sure that it was the first item on my to do list. I was not disappointed and will gladly go again. This is not a huge museum but it blends elements from the Louvre, The Vatican and the Cleveland Museum of Art. It is artfully laid out with beautiful gardens surrounding the building and is located in Fort Tryon Park. There is a lily garden as you exit the museum that is a delightful assault on the senses and the west terrace has a beautiful view of the Hudson River. It is unique, beautiful and well designed.

John D. Rockefeller bought the land on the upper West Side of Manhattan (Washington Heights) in 1931and the Medieval art collection from George Barnard in 1925. Work began and the museum opened in 1938. The Cloisters contains Medieval architecture and 2000 pieces of art from the 12th to 15th centuries, including statue, tapestries, paintings, crypts, and stained glass. The gardens within the cloisters were reconstructed from “medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents and herbals, and medieval works of art such as tapestries, stained-glass windows, and column capitals” (https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/history). Some of the plants are labeled and there are some beautiful feature plants like an esplanade pear tree.

A cloister is a covered walkway and surrounds a square garden or green space. The walkways are usually attached to a monastery, convent or larger church walls, and has a colonnade. I looked into the history and found on http://www.theculturaltrip.com that the four cloisters are the Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Bonnefort-en-Comminges, Trie-sur-Baise, Froville, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, and other European locations were excavated in France from abbeys and monasteries from those same names and constructed on site between 1934 and 1939. There were later installations from 1958 to 1962 from Fuentidueña Chapel in Spain and the Lagon Chapel from Burgundy, France.


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