New Stained Glass Display is Highlight of Multi-Year Project at Northern Manhattan Branch of Metropolitan Museum
The Early Gothic Hall at The Cloisters will reopen this summer after a five-year renovation. Completely refurbished 13th-century limestone windows and two dozen panels of newly conserved and reinstalled stained glass, primarily from the 13th and 14th centuries, are among the objects on view. Four recently acquired and exceptional examples of German stained glass from the late-13th-century glazing program for the convent church in Altenberg-an-der-Lahn will be reunited in this new installation. The renovation of the Early Gothic Hall also features construction of two new limestone apertures in an interior wall (for the display of grisaille glass windows) and new lighting.
The work in the Early Gothic Hall is part of the larger Building Preservation Project that has included the renovation and roof repair of the Nine Heroes and Unicorn Tapestries Rooms (completed in 1999), the construction of a new skylight for the St.-Guilhem Cloister and conservation of the medieval sculpture contained therein (completed in 2003), the renovation of the Boppard Room (completed in 2004), and the installation of new lighting and climate control systems in many of the galleries (ongoing).
Conservation of the medieval limestone windows and the renovation of the Early Gothic Hall were funded by The Alice Tully Foundation. Improvements to the climate control system were made possible through the generous support of The City of New York.
Peter Barnet, the Museum's Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, commented: "The goal of the renovation project is to restore the building to the original concept from 1938, when The Cloisters first opened, while also upgrading and expanding necessary lighting, air-conditioning and heating systems. We are thrilled to be able to illuminate so many of our very rare examples of Gothic stained glass by natural daylight, because this is how they were meant to be seen. A new exterior glazing system will protect them from the elements. When fully installed, the display in this room will constitute the largest and most varied group of 13th- and 14th-century panels outside Europe."
Also returning to view in the Early Gothic Hall will be more than a dozen important Gothic sculptures and paintings from the Museum's permanent collection, including the life-size Virgin from the choir screen of Strasbourg Cathedral (mid-13th century), which retains most of its polychromy, and a magnificent, recently acquired late-13th-century head from the region of Strasbourg on the Upper Rhine. Several examples of Italian sculpture recently acquired by The Cloisters will be exhibited alongside 14th-century paintings by Tuscan and Sienese artists that have part of the collection since its inception.
Constructed in New York City's Fort Tryon Park from 1935 to 1938 to house part of the Metropolitan Museum's superb collection of medieval art, The Cloisters evokes the feeling of a medieval monastery without attempting to recreate any single site. Within The Cloisters are four reconstructed medieval cloisters – the
Cuxa Cloister, the Trie Cloister, Bonnefont Cloister, and the St.-Guilhem Cloister – that give the museum its name.
Located in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Cloisters is the only museum in the United Stated dedicated solely to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.
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May 15, 2006