Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Cloisters

There's a castle on a hill overlooking the Hudson River on the northeast tip of Manhattan. Known as "the Cloisters," it is the branch of the massive Metropolitan Museum of Art that houses the medieval art collection. It's called the Cloisters because
the building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters—quadrangles enclosed by a roofed or vaulted passageway, or arcade—and from other monastic sites in southern France. Three of the cloisters reconstructed at the branch museum feature gardens planted according to horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents and herbals, and medieval works of art, such as tapestries, stained-glass windows, and column capitals. Approximately five thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about A.D. 800 with particular emphasis on the twelfth through fifteenth century, are exhibited in this unique and sympathetic context. more here

Mr. Miller and I wandered the cool halls, chapels and quadrangles last Thursday. Because of the season, the gardens were uninspiring, but the largely Christian-themed artwork spurred numerous conversations and the architecture stunned us.

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