The Met Cloisters

The Met Cloisters The Met Cloisters, located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, is the branch of the Museum dedicated to the art, architecture, & gardens of medieval Europe.
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The Met Cloisters, located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, is the branch of the Museum dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe. Deriving its name from the medieval cloisters that form the core of the building, it presents a harmonious and evocative setting for more than 2,000 exceptional artworks and architectural elements from the medieval West.

The Met Cloisters, located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, is the branch of the Museum dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe. Deriving its name from the medieval cloisters that form the core of the building, it presents a harmonious and evocative setting for more than 2,000 exceptional artworks and architectural elements from the medieval West.

Operating as usual

#TheMetCloisters is named for the sculptural elements from five medieval cloisters that are incorporated into the modern...
02/04/2021

#TheMetCloisters is named for the sculptural elements from five medieval cloisters that are incorporated into the modern building. A cloister is formed by an open courtyard surrounded by covered passageways that provide access to other spaces in a monastery. The Saint-Guilhem Cloister contains elements from the now-destroyed upper level of the cloister from the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert (near Montpellier).

Carved from limestone in the late 12th or early 13th century, the delicate nature of the stone needs to be protected from harsh weather conditions, which was recognized when the Museum was designed. A skylight provides natural daylight to the gallery (along with supplemental lighting), and the changing pattern of light throughout the day enhances the deeply-carved sculptural elements. Many of the capitals, columns, pilasters, and abaci are carved with a variety of plant forms, some of which were influenced by antique Roman types. A selection of the plants represented in the sculpture is displayed in the central courtyard of the gallery or elsewhere in the gardens. Nature was clearly a source of creativity for the sculptors.

Among the plant forms that can be identified are: acanthus, palms, ivy, and hops. Our collection of date and fan palms displayed in this gallery was the subject of an earlier post. The second image in this post shows the distinctive layered, rough texture of a palm trunk portrayed in one of the Saint-Guilhem column shafts. #Acanthus is the most commonly represented plant form in the cloister. The curled, textured leaves are deeply carved with drilled accents, and used to create highly decorative patterns. #MetAnywhere #InspiredByNature

Saint-Guilhem Cloister, late 12th-early 13th century, France. Limestone. 25.120.1-.134.

[image descriptions, in order: Saint-Guilhem Cloister lit by the large skylight with art objects visible in the surrounding walkway. Two pale gray columns in the St-Guilhem Cloister; one of the columns imitates a palm tree while the other has a tiered, acanthus-leaf pattern capital. A pilaster (rectangular, decorative column projecting from a wall) with an acanthus motif. A potted Acanthus mollis.]

The Met Cloisters collection includes spectacular examples of 14th-century Austrian stained glass, including twenty-thre...
01/21/2021

The Met Cloisters collection includes spectacular examples of 14th-century Austrian stained glass, including twenty-three panels from the Church of St. Leonhard im Lavanttal. Installed in the three central windows in the Gothic Chapel (swipe to see the gallery), the ensemble combines narrative scenes and locally venerated saints. One of the most special features of the museum’s design is the abundance of exterior windows that allow stained glass to be displayed as originally intended, with natural daylight streaming through it. The panel illustrated here represents Saint Agnes, whose feast day is celebrated today. The saint stands within an archway, flanked by columns, and surrounded by a foliate border. She is depicted as a young girl with long blond hair, clothed in a luminous green gown with a light yellow bottom border, and a bright red mantle lined in brilliant yellow.

Saint Agnes was a Roman virgin martyr (symbolized by the palm frond in her right hand). Her name evokes the Latin word for lamb, which she holds in her left hand, alluding to her innocence. According to legend, Saint Agnes was raised in a wealthy Christian family, refused many suitors, claiming she wished to remain chaste, and was put to death at the age of thirteen after she was reported to the authorities. Revered for her innocence and purity, she is the patron saint of young girls.

Saint Agnes Eve was a traditional time for love divination, when various rituals were performed to encourage dreams of one’s future husband. They included saying prayers to the saint, fasting, walking backwards to bed, sleeping with a Dumb Cake (a salty biscuit) beneath your pillow, and leaving a sprig of rosemary and thyme sprinkled with urine in each of your shoes. We’ve missed our chance this year, but perhaps one of these options will appeal to an adventurous reader next January 20.

Saint Agnes, Austria, 1340-50. Pot-metal glass, colorless glass, and vitreous paint. 65.98 #SaintAgnes #StainedGlass #Austria

[ID: A bright photo of the stained glass panel depicting Saint Agnes is followed by a photo of the Gothic Chapel, a gallery at #TheMetCloisters in the form of a 13th-century chapel with tomb effigies.]

Many Orthodox churches around the world, including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, celebrate Christmas today, on January ...
01/07/2021

Many Orthodox churches around the world, including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, celebrate Christmas today, on January 7, rather than December 25 like many western traditions. This double-sided manuscript leaf was once part of a complete, illustrated gospel book made in in the 14th century in what is now the Tigray region of Ethiopia. One thousand years before the creation of this leaf, the region converted to Christianity under King Ezana of Aksum and became a key stop along trade routes between Constantinople (capital of the Byzantine empire) and India. Aksum’s location along such routes allowed political leaders and artists greater access to cultural centers of the larger Christian world such as Alexandria and Jerusalem, resulting in a flourishing exchange of goods and artistic ideas.

The artist of this manuscript leaf employed bright colors and bold forms to present an evocative image of the Crucifixion. The striking detail of the empty cross is a common feature of 14th-century Ethiopian images of the Crucifixion. To medieval Ethiopian Christians, the absence of Christ’s body reflected their hope in Christ’s triumph over death and his resurrection. Comparisons have been made between illuminated images such as these and Ethiopian processional crosses. Swipe left for an example in from the #MetAAOA collection. Also attributed to the Tigray region, this intricate cross—which excludes any image of Christ’s crucified body—would have been carried through liturgical processions.

Double-Sided Gospel Leaf, first half 14th century, Tigray, Ethiopia. Tempera on parchment. 2006.100.

Ezra (Ethiopian, 1460–1522). Processional Cross, ca. 1500, Tigray, Ethiopia. Wood and tin. 1999.103. #MetAnywhere #GlobalMiddleAges #Ethiopia #AfricanArt

[Image description: A photo of one side of a Double-Side Gospel Leaf. The Crucifixion is represented by a monumental jeweled cross topped by a Lamb of God and at the sides are the two thieves bound to their crosses. the parchment is yellowed and the painting in dramatic reds and a dark blue-black. The second slide is a photo of an intricately carved wood Processional Cross, an elaborately carved wood structure inlaid with metal.]

The entrances and galleries of The Met Cloisters are decked with traditional holiday decorations through January 4. Arch...
12/24/2020

The entrances and galleries of The Met Cloisters are decked with traditional holiday decorations through January 4. Arches, wreaths, and other embellishments are made from fresh greenery and other plants and nuts associated with the Christmas season, inspired by research on medieval Christmastide. The handsome wheat sheaf in the Langon Chapel is based on visual evidence found in many works of medieval and later art. Many depictions of the Nativity include a sheaf of wheat near the manger where baby Jesus lies, or he even rests upon a heap of wheat. This grain has been identified with life and renewal since antiquity and was later incorporated into Christian iconography and liturgy. The inclusion of wheat in scenes from Jesus’s infancy alludes to the sacramental aspect of his birth, foreshadowing the bread of the Mass.

A detail from a tiny, precious Book of Hours by Simon Bening illustrates the connection between the holiday decorations and the museum’s collection. Bening’s Nativity scene is set at night in a courtyard between a ruined wall and a church façade. The Virgin and Joseph kneel, hands raised in prayer, with the newborn Child between them. A bundle of wheat lies on the ground behind the infant. The second image from this manuscript depicts the Adoration of the Magi, the opening that is now on view.

For additional information about the holiday decorations and their context, follow the link in our bio to our new digital brochure. https://www.metmuseum.org/met-cloisters-holidays

Simon Bening. Book of Hours. Netherlandish, made in Bruges ca. 1530-35. Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment; modern red leather binding. 2015.276 #Christmastide #Tradition #Winter #Wheat #Symbolism

[image descriptions: A photo of Langon Chapel during Christmastide. A large candelabra stands by the altar frontal, decorated in fresh ivy, white roses, and other plant materials, with a perfectly gathered sheaf of wheat sitting in the foreground. Slides 2 and 3 feature paintings from Bening's Book of Hours, the Nativity and Adoration of the Magi respectively. Both paintings are exquisitely detailed for their size with bright blues, reds, and gold embellishing each.]

Happy snow day! Here at The #MetCloisters snow days feel especially magical. Swipe through the photos above of our snow-...
12/17/2020

Happy snow day! Here at The #MetCloisters snow days feel especially magical. Swipe through the photos above of our snow-laden gardens to see what we mean.

If you are feeling intrepid and able to travel through Fort Tryon Park in the snow, we invite you to enjoy the tranquility with us. Timed entry and guidelines for a safe visit are available through our website. Link in bio. Please note that when it snows, M4 bus service to our front doors is suspended until the park is plowed. #NYCMuseum #SnowDay #Tranquility

[image descriptions: Six photographs of the fresh snow in the outdoor spaces of the Museum. 1. Outside the Museum, a view of the facade and tower through the falling snow. 2. Bonnefont Garden with bare quince trees and an untouched blanket of snow. 3. A glimpse of Bonnefont through a narrow window, taken from Trie Cloister. 4 & 5. Views of the arcades in Trie and Bonnefont, snow drifts spilling onto the walkways through the columns and arches ringing their gardens. 6. A view of Trie Garden through the columns of the cloister, fallen snow covering the ground and sculptural fountain at the center.]

Tearing your hair out this week? Contemplating pulling the hair of another? Don't do it! Explore a work of art instead! ...
11/05/2020

Tearing your hair out this week? Contemplating pulling the hair of another? Don't do it! Explore a work of art instead!

This carved stone corbel, which once supported the overhanging roof of a French church, shows interlocking figures of different sizes pulling each other's long hair and beards. Hair- and beard-pullers were popular subjects of medieval art. Though their significance is not always clear today, as with many examples of medieval body language, the gesture may allude to an inner state of being - in this case, emotional turmoil or spiritual anguish.

Corbel with Five Interlaced Hair-Pulling Acrobats, France, ca. 1150–1200. Limestone. 34.21.2. #MetCloisters #MetAnywhere #MedievalArt #Sculpture #Beards #France

[image description: A stone block is carved with one larger central figure flanked by four smaller figures, two on each side. The figures pull long strands of each other's hair as well as the long beard of the largest figure. Slide 2 is a close up of the figures.]

Boo! This spoooky image of an ultraviolet (UV) examination and photography of Christ Child with an Apple is our Hallowee...
10/30/2020

Boo! This spoooky image of an ultraviolet (UV) examination and photography of Christ Child with an Apple is our Halloween treat. Did you ever receive the dreaded apple instead of candy when you trick-or-treated as a child?

This sculpture of the Christ Child in #TheMetCloisters collection is in remarkable condition, retaining most of its original polychromy (fig. 2 and 3). Ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence is commonly used to detect restorations on painted surfaces. Inconsistencies in application of materials, from original paint layers to recently applied adhesives or paint, can be visually distinguished by their different reactions to the radiation. Here, the restored areas of the sculpture --narrow vertical streaks caused by paint loss around cracks, have absorbed the radiation. They appear darker than the aged original lead-based flesh tones, which fluoresce a bluish white.

Circle of Michel Erhart (German, Ulm, active 1464–1522). Christ Child with an Apple, ca. 1470–80. Willow with original paint and traces of gold. 2012.449. #MetAnywhere #HappyHalloween #ArtConservation #TrickOrTreat

[image descriptions: Slide 1 is an eerily dark photo of a painted wooden sculpture of the Christ Child. His skin appears white and blue and the cracks in the paint are almost black. He is nude and holds an apple in his right hand. The subsequent slide shows the figure as he appears in our galleries, with his ruddy cheeks, round belly, curly hair and pale complexion. The cracks visible in the UV photograph are no longer readily apparent. Slide 3 is a close up of the red and yellow apple he holds.]

Shaped like a miniature chapel, this incredibly rare reliquary shrine is one of the jewels of #TheMetCloisters. On Octob...
10/29/2020

Shaped like a miniature chapel, this incredibly rare reliquary shrine is one of the jewels of #TheMetCloisters. On October 30, 1940, eighty years ago this week, the Nazi regime began the systematic plunder of thousands of artworks from Jewish families in France. Hermann Göring, a leading Nazi official during World War II, stole this reliquary from the Paris residence of Edmond de Rothschild for his private collection filled with artworks he unlawfully seized. Thankfully, “monuments men,” dispatched by the U.S. and British governments for the first time in the history of warfare to restitute works of art to their rightful owners, located the shrine at the war’s end and returned it to Edmond de Rothschild’s heirs on June 3, 1948. Come see it in the @metmuseum 150th anniversary exhibition, “Making The Met,” through January 3, 2021 alongside other works in the Museum’s collection associated with World War II.

Attributed to Jean de Touyl (French, died 1349/50). Reliquary Shrine, ca. 1325–50. Gilded silver, translucent enamel, paint. 62.96. #MetAnywhere #MakingTheMet #Met150 #MedievalArt #WWII

[image descriptions: Slides 1 and 2 are studio photographs of the reliquary front and back, respectively. It sits against a soft gray backdrop with the wings open to show the interior of the chapel. The Virgin and Child are accompanied by angels in the central "building" with gilded arches, vaults, and other architectural elements. The wings are of translucent enamel, depicting Mary's life and the Infancy of Christ and evoking stained glass. Slides 3 and 4 show the reliquary, along with other objects, installed in Making The Met.]

Tune in Saturday, October 24th at 10 am Eastern to learn about behind-the-scenes activities that close out our growing s...
10/23/2020

Tune in Saturday, October 24th at 10 am Eastern to learn about behind-the-scenes activities that close out our growing season and pave the way for next year's bounty and display. Horticultural staff will walk us through the importance of the harvest season, bulb planting and propagation for spring, and the time-intensive holiday decorations they create and display in our galleries at the close of the calendar year.

Above: Delicious and bountiful during the fall harvest, grapes like the ones grown in our courtyard were transformed into wine, an important beverage in the Middle Ages which was regularly consumed and enjoyed.

Check our link in bio to visit the event page for more information and direct links to YouTube and Facebook. #Horticulture #MedievalGardening #Harvest #Holidays

[image description: A photo of the concord grapes growing at The Met Cloisters. These pale green grapes hang in full bunches from twisting vines with broad, dark green leaves, against the stone of the Museum facade.]

#TheMetCloisters is proud to announce the completion of a book on The Conservation of Medieval Polychrome Wood Sculpture...
10/16/2020

#TheMetCloisters is proud to announce the completion of a book on The Conservation of Medieval Polychrome Wood Sculpture. With this publication, Met conservator Lucretia Kargère and professor Michele Marincola from the @nyuifa Conservation Center (and former @metobjectsconservation staff member) fill a gap in the conservation literature, which has no comprehensive English-language reference. A real challenge in creating this publication was distilling an enormous body of literature, mostly in four languages, on the materials and methods of medieval polychrome wood sculptures, and their treatment. The authors conducted research and interviews with conservators in America and Europe and incorporated their own experience at The Met Cloisters in examining and conserving polychrome wood sculpture. Rather than being a recipe book, the volume provides access to the decision-making processes, the history of care, the scientific rational, and the types of materials and treatments that might be appropriate today. Many images from The Cloisters Collection are included, and four case studies illustrate key moments in a sculpture’s treatment history reconsidered in the light of current practices.

Those interested may find the book at the Getty store website. #Polychrome #WoodSculpture #ObjectConservation

Tilman Riemenschneider (German, 1460–1531). Seated Bishop, ca. 1495. Limewood and gray-black stain. 1970.137.1.

Enthroned Virgin and Child, France, ca. 1130–1140. Birch with paint and glass. 47.101.15.

[image descriptions: Slide 1, the cover of The Conservation of Medieval Polychrome Wood featuring The Visitation from the Medieval Department collection at The Met, a painted and gilded wood sculpture of Mary and Elizabeth that was highlighted in a collections post just last week. Slide 2, the Seated Bishop from The Cloisters Collection during treatment circa 1970, halfway through the removal of a more modern coat of paint. Slides 3 and 4, detail of Mary's face from The Enthroned Virgin and Child, another piece from The Cloisters Collection, before and after treatment respectively. Treatment included compensation of crack and remodeling of proper left eye.]

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Welcome to The Met Cloisters. Yes, we are open.
Hi. Does my Culture Pass NYC allow free entry to The Met Cloisters? I know it does to the Met and one pass is good for two. Same at the Cloisters?
leave the city (ny) and find refuge here. wonder!
A peaceful oasis in upper Manhattan. Make sure you see the Anglo Saxon cross of Edward the Confessor, the 'Cloisters Cross'.
I finally visited today since I had free time in NYC on this trip. By doing so, I discovered the best place in the U.S., bar none. Words are inadequate.
HELLO people à USA. i'm a french writer and my next roman is beginning in the cloisters museums. I need details of each cloisters and their arts. Please, have you photographs for me? I Have never been in New-York and I don't want to say stupidities and wrong descriptions. my mail is [email protected] or on my page facebook. THANKS of all my heart
I love the Cloisters: The tapestries and the original archways. The Rockefellers knew how to do it; they also purchased the land opposite the Hudson River to preserve the look of Medieval Europe. Amazing place--and also the largest Medieval Museum in the US. Jim
You were very lucky to tour this beautiful place!
I wish you gave more details on the content of the upcoming talks
One of my favorite museums in New York! I think you are a hidden gem :) I included The Cloisters on my travel blog recently, check it out!