Museum of the Month: The Cloisters

Art enthusiasts around the globe have heard of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yet, most New Yorkers have failed to come across The Cloisters, which is located in Fort Tyron Park in Washington Heights.

Photo Credit: Kailey Fellows FIT ’17

The Cloisters opened to the public in 1938, about 60 years after The Met opened. This branch of the Met is devoted to the art and architecture of Medieval Europe. It contains over two thousand works of art pertaining to this period. The Cloisters also has gardens that contain plants talked about in Medieval poetry and art. The photo to the left shows artistic pillars in The Cloisters’ garden, which were common in the Middle Ages. The whole museum is devoted to giving an authentic feeling of the art in that time period.

Photo Credit: Kailey Fellows FIT '17
Photo Credit: Kailey Fellows FIT ’17

The museum contains many different types of art, such as paintings, pottery and sculptures. The photo to the right shows The Cloisters’ “Reliquary Arm” from 1230. The arm is oak gilded in bronze, with pictures of Peter and Paul as well as other biblical scenes. This type of art is typical of the Middle Ages.

Most of the art in The Cloisters was collected by George Grey Barnard, a prominent American sculptor that collected and dealt Medieval Art. He donated his art to The Met, but the large pieces would not all fit in the museum. John D. Rockefeller decided to donate the area (that is now The Cloisters) to house those pieces and any others that would be given to the museum in the future.

Like the Met, The Cloisters has recommended pricing so you can pay however much you want. If you visit during the same week that you visit the Met, you can just show your ticket and get in for free.


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